and the aftermath

APRIL 11th 2010
I have successfully predicted the results of the past two elections, and this one I predicted nearly two years ago as a 'hung parliament'. At the time, I did not think that would be too bad a result, as a hung parliament is an experience that is due for a re-test by MPs, the public and the Civil Service. However, all things considered, this is not a time to muck about and it would be better if we could clear the air and get to the real issues and somehow energize enough people who see what is at stake to vote, even if they have some reservations, for a competent government with the power to govern drawn from a clear result.

We all know that some mistakes have been made over the past 10 years. We know that Vince Cable is a sharp witted financial commentator but also that to take his advice is often impractical or quite impossible in a democratic capitalist society with free a market economy and competitive free global trade in goods and services - impossible also for the same reasons his party has not been in power, or he it's leader. Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. We know that David Cameron is good speaker and there are some good ideas swimming around in his head, but there is no indication that he understands anything very much despite his good will and enthusiasm and sometimes good judgment. There is no indication that many of his party colleagues have a clue or any motives other than hangin on to their own careers. Kenneth Clarke, the first Chancellor of the Exchequer who had any idea of what he was up against, because he had important ministerial experience before becoming Chancellor, is past his sell by date now and, more importantly, not representative of his party

Competence is what we require and the competence of the Labour government has been mixed because for starters they have not had a knowledge of rural affairs, and also lacked experience in management at certain levels. This has caused huge problems in some areas like major new IT projects, though I have to say the Tories would have made just as big a mess, though different, usually through not even attempting what was a necessity. At least we can learn from Labour's mistakes because they tried. The one thing they did do was fix the roof while the sun shone - the one thing Cameron accused them of not doing, which shows how little he knows or admits his party let the roof rot for its entire tenure.

We have some very competent EU partners these days including Merkel in Germany and a sound economics minister in France, though Mr Sarkozy is losing popularity. Unpopularity is usually an indication that a politician is doing a great job, but Sarkozy does not go down too well with those of his compatriots who have 'Une certaine idée de La France', which is a pity as he is quite a switched on man.

It is unfortunate that as we start the campaign for this election the main party machines are concentrating on appealing to the self-interest of voters. It is our country that is at stake. The Tories are trying to appeal to big business on whom they will depend for finance. This is why they are opposing the increase in National Insurance. This increase is absolutely correct policy for reasons that are clear. It is a non-discretionary tax (as opposed to VAT which can be avoided on all non-essential purchases by simply buying less and buying cheaper) and it is widely spread in all sectors. It is not an anti-business tax at all, except it will discourage employers from taking on unnecessary employees and since efficiency is the only hope we have of surviving in the global economy, this can only be good. It is sad that the admirable Stuart Rose should be selling his good name for a possible peerage after such a brilliant, thoughtful and respected career - but maybe I do him an injustice and he just does not understand the difference between running a business and governing (as opposed to 'running') a country with a parliamentary democracy. I would expect the N.I. increase to cost every individual and business a certain amount, certainly not to help them in the short term, to be unpopular, and to be good for the nation. The tax take required over the next decade must be balanced in many different ways. This N.I. increase is part of that balance.

I was amused to hear a typical 'Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells' complain that it was 'disgraceful' that the National Insurance contribution would be used to help pay off the nation's debt, instead of providing the payouts for which it was designed. "It's an insurance!" the apoplectic caller expostulated, "and its being stiolen". Dear 'Disgusted', the government borrows just now to pay the benefits the N.I. system provides, and the contributions help to pay back the borrowings. The sooner we can, the less the interest and the future rate of interest, and the latter is the great danger.

Before polling day I expect all this to be explained fully to the electorate, with the result that those who did not vote last time will get off their bums and return Gordon Brown and his team (some of which may well drive you mad but never mind) back to government with a solid majority. It is more a question of brains than policies, I hope they make no promises at all. It makes as much sense to quibble about details and broken promises as it would to make someone driving you from London to Scotland promise to take an exact fixed route before setting out. Roads can be switched depending on traffic and abuse by other users, or accidents. What counts is the destination.

APRIL 12th 2010
Starting to day, and irregularly because I am very busy, I will deal one by one with some major issues on which the public have exercised their right to criticise the UK Government, that is to say the Party/Civil-Service/Institutional combination that is responsible for the legal/political background on and in which our activities take place.

1. The gap between rich and poor has grown over the past decade.

This is true. It is also inevitable if a policy of economic growth, and increasing wealth amongst those with jobs in the market-driven sector, is fostered in a country where there is all of the following at once:
The last two problems have been corrected by importing people from other countries, making the wealth gap amongst UK nationals and some of the exploited immigrants even worse, while the non-exploited or expoiting immigrants join the wealthy. The collapse of growth caused a public balancing of books to be made, exposing personal debt which was posing as apparent wealth.

In summary, it is a mathematical certainty in the UK model, multilingual and multicultural as it is in addition to the above, that as wealth increases and is spread wider there will be an increasing wealth gap between those employed in jobs where consumer demand is backed by the ability and willingness (of individuals or the state) to pay, and those who are not in such a job, or any job. Those in jobs in the public sector will also rely on guaranteed pensions, which eventually the nation will be unable to afford in their lengthening retirement years unless all tax avoidance is curtailed.

Anyone who thinks that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling did not understand all this before, during and after the current global financial crisis should  disabuse themselves of such thoughts. The question was always what to do about it. They were aiming for sustained growth on the global rules that the other major economies were apparently working on, hoping to repair and build new infrastructure in the neglected UK, to land on a financial 'ledge' that was globally competitive, at which point inevitable global financial reforms could have been coordinated internationally.

What they did NOT know was the extent of the lie on which the US had built its domestic economy, where Greenspan was playing the same game but huge players behind the scenes were given a free hand by the politicians in order to prove by fair means or foul the simplistic theory that a propert-owning democracy could be wealthy, sustainable and globally competitive and at the same time a model to be adopted world-wide. Freed from Glass-Steagall, every bank could play every game. Lost in cyberspace, they went for bricks and mortar - or wood and wattle, what the hell it's home (apol. Tom Lehrer).

The theory:
Just make sure everyone has some property. If they can't afford it, lend them the money and since the value will rise the debt can be wrapped up and sold on. Worst comes to worst, repossess and re-mortgage to a new owner or let it.

The flaw? If more than a certain percentage of the debts are initially dodgy, and this becomes public knowledge, they become progressively callable. This can halt and collapse a rising housing value bubble. The system implodes. If it has been used as part of a global system of securites, the global economy implodes.

So could Gordon and Alistair have taken Vince Cable's advice? Could they have suggested to the bankers and others that regulations could be agreed, corrections made, risks reduced? Not a chance, any more than George Bush and Tony Bair, or their staff, could have suggested to Donald Rumsfeld there were things he didn't know he didn't know. That is until Rumsfeld discovered that very thing - and was so amazed he had to tell the world of his great discovery. He was much derided, but his epiphany was real and his convoluted sentence was, actually, quite correct.

Brown admits he was wrong not to have acted, but in the absence of any support at home or internationally, how could he?

14th APRIL 2010
Tories and Labour claim they could and would have regulated the banks. Oh yes, laughing all the way!

Brown admits mistake over banks

Gordon Brown has admitted he made a mistake in not introducing tougher bank regulation when he was chancellor.

The PM, chancellor from 1997 to 2007, said that in the 1990s the banks had all been calling for less regulation.

"And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he said in an interview on ITV1's Tonight.

The Conservatives said Mr Brown had "failed", while the Liberal Democrats said his admission was "not enough".

The prime minister said he should have put the "whole public interest" before the banks but had "learnt" from the experience.


Mr Brown said: "In the 1990s, the banks, they all came to us and said, 'Look, we don't want to be regulated, we want to be free of regulation'."

"All the complaints I was getting from people was, 'Look you're regulating them too much'. And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he added.

"So I've learnt from that. So you don't listen to the industry when they say, 'This is good for us'. You've got to talk about the whole public interest."

Every time you make a decision about troop deployments with generals, you've got to bear in mind that these are decisions about people's lives
Gordon Brown

Schools Secretary Ed Balls, who worked with Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, said both had previously admitted they should have done more to control the financial sector.

At Labour's morning press conference he said: "In retrospect we should have been tougher with some of the investment banks which did not know the risks they were running. This was a problem for governments around the world."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson added: "Regulation should have been more intrusive and the regulatory practice of the FSA [Financial Services Authority] should have kept pace with the fast-changing developments in the financial services sector."

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "So finally Gordon Brown admits he failed to regulate the bankers and increased taxes on the poor. We've had 13 years of his economic mistakes. Britain can't afford five years more."

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "It's not enough just to hold your hands up and say sorry without having a plan for making sure that the same thing doesn't happen again."
. . . .

APRIL 14 2010
David Cameron's plan for Britain
The points he makes and the ideas he puts forward have elements of truth and
important features. Any government dealing with the UK in the 21st century has got to engage the public better in all aspects of managing our institutions if we are to use the energy and talent of individuals in a positive way. However, experience and professionalism are a vital requirement. Cameron wants fewer focus groups and quangos, he says, but isn't it the case that he will have to set up new groups and quangos, just with different people in them, to carry out his plan to replace Big Government with The Big Society? Or will he auction off aspects of local government to the highest bidder? In a country as illiterate and divided as is the UK just now, is it not a recipe for chaos? We complain of Post-Code Lottery when standards and methods vary from place to place, but to improving facilities according to local priority choices will  cause bigger differences on the way to maybe overall improvement but maybe gettoisation. My point? Having these good ideas does not mean Cameron has a team or a party with the ability to lead the country in a coherent way to build a globally competitive economy and society. We have to do this.

The only way the UK can recover is in the context of a financially and socially coherent Western Europe in a global economy, facing Climate Change and a new financial model for survival. It WILL require a sound domestic agricultural element, manufacturing industries, top level banking and a transport system covering all the bases. But just as the concept of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) led on to the end of military threats between the US, Russia, China and Europe, so MAB (Mutually Assured Bankruptcy), which was the outcome of the global finance escalation, must lead to cooperation to avoid that happening for real - that is assuming we have pulled back onto the cliff top and are not all falling together in a drop towards the rocks.

We know from experience that without competition, those who have positions of authority and privilege, even if well earned, can pursue their own comfort, security and wealth with more enthusiasm than that of their clients, customers or dependents. That is the reason why competition has had the effect of maintaining and somtimes raising performance in all activities, not just sport. However, competition can, if taken as the golden rule, also lead to results that are bad for the general or global economy. Sums spent on competitive advertising, marketing and selling campaigns, the rush for subscribers, borrowers, investors, on buying champions of management, marketing, dealing or scoring goals etc can twist whole industries into bubbles of economic activity whose only way to stay in the air is a forward rush or a growth that ignores any notion of real human needs, some of which are trully basic. These basic needs of a home (owned, rented or allowed), food, clothing and security, are said to be rights. They are nothing of the kind unless our society agrees to make them so in return for acceptable behaviour and paticipation in civil life. This is what we call the Social Contract, and it depends for its existence in a democracy (as opposed to a state or personal tyranny), on most people being educated and trained sufficiently to play a part and abide by some rules.

There is a reason why Cameron's vision should be taken seriously, however. Alienation is behind the problems we in the UK face more than most countries. I wrote a whole chapter on this in "The State Of The Art" in the 1980s as being the greatest problem facing some democratic nations in the future. Gangs of youths that are NOT alienated from society, far from being a threat or a nuisance, are key to its present and future health. In a more rural past, the Scouts and Guides were more representative of the genre. The growth of urbanisation has not given birth to a benign equivalent. Vigilantes and Neighbourhood Watch are reactive, based on opposing a threat more than getting-to-know-you or providing a service not linked to trouble, crime or violence. As for the gangs, they are the source of those ills.

Cameron's policy to 'scrap ID cards is ridiculous. To govern Britain in the future without an ID system is to repeat the disasters of the past. The cards will be taken up, used and paid for only by those who need them, nobody else. Anyone who can prove their identity by other means will be welcome to do so, as has always been the case. A British national who can prove his identity and nationality by any means has never needed a passport to be in, or arrive at, this country. Not a lot of people know that. It may take a little longer than just passing through a card-scanner, but it's a fact. Some people without passports, or who have lost them or are renewing them, or do not wish to carry their passport with them at all times and who do not possess other means, witnesses or drivers license, or have difficult-to-distinguish names, will be pleased to pay for an ID card. Asylum seekers and temporary residents may well be given one. To think of saving money by abandoning the scheme is a measure of either gross stupidity or contempt for the electorate. The speed with which it is rolled out will, however, be subject to cost/benefit analysis - the cost being the human resources (or people, as we used to call them) involved in the setup and implementation. The benefit is the huge savings in human resources where it will be running and the reduced cost of better, though always imperfect, security, plus the reduction in individuals suffering Identity Theft.

Cameron 'to make Britain better'

Conservative leader David Cameron has launched his party's election manifesto, which he says is a "plan to change Britain for the better".

He said the "optimistic" plan would bring a "new kind of government" with less state and more "people power".

Pledges include allowing people to set up their own schools and veto high council tax rises.

Labour said it meant people would be left "on their own". The Lib Dems said it was "style over substance".

In other election developments on Tuesday:

In a speech launching the manifesto at Battersea Power Station in south London, Mr Cameron said it was the "the biggest call to arms this country has seen in a generation".

He said no government could solve all problems on its own and he wanted "everyone to get involved", adding government should be the "partner of the big society, not its boss".

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said there was a "difference in philosophy" between the Conservatives and Labour, with the Tories saying "government needs to be pushed along" by the general public, while Labour was pledging that "government can be on your side".

  • Community 'right to bid' to run post offices
  • Eliminate bulk of structural deficit over a parliament
  • Cut £6bn 'wasteful' spending in 2010/11
  • Cut number of MPs by 10%
  • Annual limit on non-EU economic migrants
  • Give parents power to save local schools due to close
  • Give voters power to sack MPs for "serious wrongdoing"
  • Scrap ID cards
  • MPs to get vote on repealing hunting ban
  • Raise stamp duty threshold to £250k for first-time buyers
  • Mr Cameron said he had taken the Tories back to the "centre ground" of politics, away from the "narrow focus" it had in the past: "We stand for society, that's the right idea for a better future."

    The Tories' plan to block the bulk of Labour's planned 1% rise in National Insurance is in the manifesto. Mr Cameron said it would save more than 50,000 jobs and would make "seven out of 10 working people better off than under Labour".

    Labour say Tory plans to cut "wasteful" government spending by £12bn this year to fund the policy are based on "fantasy" calculations and are reckless.

    Mr Cameron said: "Labour say the economy will collapse unless they keep on wasting your money."

    He accused the government of trying to "frighten" people while he presented an "optimistic" programme and would "trust" people.

    Local referendums

    The Conservatives could "make things better without spending more money", he said, and had radical plans to "help the poorest, protect the NHS, help people find work and support families".

    "This is a manifesto for a new kind of politics," he said.

    "People power, not state power."

    Among pledges in the manifesto are a community "right to buy scheme" - to allow people to protect post offices and pubs threatened with closure.

    People would be able to get local referendums on any issue if 5% of residents backed it - and would be able to use them to veto high council tax rises.

    The number of MPs would be cut by 10%, and ministers' pay would be cut by 5%, followed by a five-year freeze.

    Parents and charities would be allowed to set up state-funded schools - based on a model used in Sweden - and "unaccountable" police authorities would be replaced with a directly-elected official to set policing priorities, budgets and strategies.

    Mr Cameron dismissed suggestions that there was no demand for people to set up their own schools as "cynical".

    He said a network already set up to help them do just that had been "inundated" with offers and there was a "huge appetite" for people to get involved.

    Other pledges include raising the stamp duty threshold for first-time house buyers to £250,000, to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m, to freeze council tax for two years and a voluntary "national citizen's service" for 16-year-olds.

    Stamp duty

    As well as pledges to reform out-of-work benefits, scrap ID cards and increase health spending, there is also a pledge for an annual cap on non-European Union migrants who are allowed to live and work in the UK.

    And there would be a referendum on any future European treaty "that transferred areas of power or competences" from Britain to the EU.

    BBC chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said there were no new details of how the Conservatives would reduce the budget deficit - something the party have pledged to do "faster" than Labour, who say they will halve it in four years.

    None of the main parties has definitively ruled out raising VAT and the Conservatives also do not make a pledge on income tax, which Labour have said they will not raise.

    The business and economy section of the Tories' manifesto is its ideological and intellectual heart
    Robert Peston BBC's business editor

    But shadow foreign secretary William Hague told the BBC: "The plans we have don't involve raising VAT. We are not looking for tax rises. People feel over-taxed."

    Ken Clarke, shadow business secretary, later told the BBC that politicians should be "ignored" if they make firm promises on tax, unless it is part of a Budget.

    "So any politician who starts telling you firmly what he's doing in tax should be ignored unless he's Chancellor of a very good budget," he said.

    The UK Independence Party has launched its own manifesto, called "empowering the people", and has pledged not to field candidates against any "committed Eurosceptic" from other parties - including six Conservatives.

    Labour launched their manifesto on Monday, pledging a "fair future".

    Gordon Brown said there was a "complete hole" at the centre of the Conservative manifesto and it showed the party "hasn't changed".

    "There is nothing in it to help the recovery. Indeed their measures would put the recovery at risk," he said.

    "They are saying you are on your own. They are leaving people on their own to face the recession."

    Lord Mandelson - who is heading up Labour's election strategy - said a "do-it-yourself" agenda for public services would not work "unless the frontline is properly protected and properly funded", and said Tories would "cut spending very sharply" to fund all their pledges.

    Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who will launch his party's manifesto on Wednesday, said: "It's a manifesto of style over substance, you can't trust the Conservatives when they want to give tax breaks to double millionaires, not tax breaks to everybody else."

    APRIL 15th 2010
    This evening we had the first TV debate between Clegg, Cameron and Brown.
    According to the poll of 1,000 selected viewers, Clegg was the winner, Cameron next, Brown last.
    It makes me want to see either Cameron or Clegg be given the job, so that the could see the realities.
    They had some good ideas, none of which Brown was ignorant of or even disgreed with. Most of Browns plans went further than theirs, except for the ones which were impractical or impossible and the economically daft ones he disagreed with.

    I don't think the public understands the issues or what any government is up against. Nor do I think Briown understands the problems of electing a House of Lords.

    Most depressing of all was the claim by Cameron and particualrly Clegg of 'straight talking' to the public when both of them continually picked up classic points of misinformation (e.g. on inadequate equipment for troops in Afghanistan, or the N.I. contributions being a 'tax on jobs' that would risk recovery). They know they are peddling rubbish that appeals to the public on those and many other 'factoids'. Well if they don't, it's even more depressing!
    I honestly think Derren Brown could get himself elected in this country, you can play the British public like an accordion.

    The equipment available to troops fighting any enemy that is not half-witted will always be less than enough at the right place and the right time. What is it about war the British middle classes don't understand - that it's not a game or a business perhaps? War is catchup all the way until one side loses either its leaders, or its will, or motivation to prefer fighting to a settlement. Soldiers get killed on both sides. That's unless you go for massive or even preemptive extermination which so far is not the extent of desperation that has been reached. Yet Brown is held responsible, as he is for the crash of the banks.

    The public seem to believe that when all three parties agree on some major issues, Brown is to blame for not implementing them earlier. On immigration, they forget that it was immigration that made possible the rebuilding of the British economy, infrastructure, what manufacturing has survived and may key commercial enterprises that generated the growth during which much of lasting value was achieved. Browns plans to curb immigration are sound and are already coming into effect with more to follow. Cameron and Clegg now want immigration control without an ID system. DOH!

    Summary: Clegg and Cameron produced a WISH LIST, that's all, and the viewers fell for it, believing they were Fairy God-mothers.

    APRIL 17 2010
    So, today David Cameron points out the battle is between him and Gordon Brown and, logically, he should be right. "He is The Prime Minister. I think I would be a better Prime Minister", is his play in todya's media.

    That is an interesting proposal. Each of them have a party behind them, and in my book Cameron and Brown both have to convince me that they (a) represent their party and (b) are not prevented by their supporters from proper decisions on the government of Britain.

    Gordon Brown has convinced me that he is capable of leading his party, even though that party has has some powerfully dedicated and sometimes confused activists who complicate life for him. He also suffers from having to rely on urban voters who are used to being spoon-fed and he lacks the chance of getting the support of those rural voters who have be alienated by such cockups as the ban on hunting - though, let us be clear, when urban politicians are told by the RSPCA, Patron HM Queen, that fox-hunting is cruel, how can we expect them who know nothing on such matters to tell the RSPCA it is talking through its fundament and has been hijacked by ignorami?

    Cameron has yet to convince me that his party has anything more than a wish-list which it has little chance of putting into practice. All of the wishes other than on Europe are shared by Brown and Clegg, they just vary in priority and their ideas of how to achieve them. Brown is the most realistic on that score and the most capable of evaluating the means. He is NOT, however, a salesman or a performer. He is just what he is, a man who decided long ago he was capable of making a serious political career, of getting his head round the matters to be mastered, and doing the work. Now he knows what that entails.

    Of course, when you have both foreign competition and domestic opposition, the smallest mistake will be pounced on. Have you watched a cricket or football match, dear reader? Imagine if half of your team were ready to make a play for the other side if it looked clever and got them credit by the watchers.

    Do you remember the story of the Millennium Dome? As this unfolded I remarked from time to time: "The dogs will bark, but the caravan will pass anyway". It was a good building in the right place so eventually it would be a national asset. It could have been a success at its opening, but to achieve that there would have to have been a supremo with power to get things affecting the opening fixed and done right in many areas of national and local government, in transport and information systems and others besides. Our fragmented democracy with its carefully developed barriers to protect individual and local and commercial rights and interests does not allow supremos. Let us hope that in the case of the 2012 Olymipcs we do not suffer the same fate.

    Gordon Brown is a man who understands the limits of power as well as the bottom lines when it comes to national survival and human values. He knows how great the challenges are. I know he knows, because I know them too.

    David Cameron has worthy aims and great, positive thoughts. Nick Clegg is rightly exasperated by the inability of government and civil service to have a more successful application of sensible and fair policies. But they are both babes in the wood. Should we give them the chance to lead us in the biblical hope that we should do precisely because of their innocence?
    Personally, dear reader, I think you would end up in the same position as those who watched while Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

    When it come to policies, there is essentially one to decide: how to deal with Europe. We should get the EU working as well as we possibly can and that means forgetting all thoughts of withdrawing and all thoughts of making it one nation. We need as a country to UNDERSTAND the biology of globalisation.

    APRIL 22nd 2010
    This evening we had the second debate with Brown, Cameron and Clegg. Cameron and Clegg had nothing to say of any importance and Brown was very good on Europe. Gordon Brown answered all the questions on all the subjects and answered them very well indeed. Unbelievably, an instant poll afterwards showed Brown slightly lower than Clegg and Cameron in the lead. However it was slightly easier to understand when we were presented on the screen with a woman called Anne Treneman (if I have remembered that right) who came out with such a stream of utter trivia that one realised the whole event must have been prestaged and in some way the people in the instant poll primed and subliminally suggested to (Derren B, were you there?!?) so that today Cameron, who was easily the weakest came out on top. Again, I must repeat, listening to Anne Treneman is enough to make one regret that women were ever given the vote. Why is such an air-head employed anywhere, in any job? I think she was seriously pissed. Then we had an apparently pissed Michael Gove arguing with Nick Huhn (is that the name) and thingummy from Labour. I must say the candidates come over much better than the casual commentators, however. They all upped there game though Cameron least of all, so his coming top makes no sense at all.

    Final observation: the Sky young lady with the microphone who went around interviewing people was quite brilliant. She was a woman of few words, all of them loud and clear, she asked crisp questions and shut up till all the answer was delivered by the largely incoherent commentators and journalists. They were all pissed, it seemed, or getting senile. What a country! If we don't just get on with it and let Gordon Brown finish his painful stint of at least another 5 years we will be wasting time. He has at least some grip on the esentials and the means and that's more than you can say of the others. I see the Sky presenter of the programme is Kay Burley. Well done Kay. You hardly spoke a word but each one was golden and you allowed us to hear every word from everyone else.

    On a sour note, it appears that Labour leaflets accusing the Tories of wanting to scrap some pensioners rights to do with bus passes, TV and some other things were incorrect. That needs to be cleared up. Why do stupid things like that?

    APRIL 28 2010
    I think that in spite of the horror of the alternatives, Gordon Brown is blowing it. On the one hand he hasn't the sense to shut up aboiut fox-hunting - which means he hasn't understood that the legislation his party voted for was a travesty in law based on ignorance in biology - and on the other hand he insults a solid (if of limited economic intelligence) labour lady supporter by calling her bigoted, not to her face but to himself and his aides and by mistake to the world because he forgot he was wearing a radio microphone.

    Gordon seems to be blowing it. He was annoyed by the woman's criticism of his economic policy, and I can sympathise as it is astonishing how few people understand what Alistair Darling, a chancellor with more good decision to his name than an other, is talking about.  He did not find a perfect way of anwering her questions. But his annoyance then bounced onto her complaints on immigration. Ironically the interview went well even though he was irritated. The disaster is his mutterings afterwards which show a lack of empathy. A\leader should understand the feelings of those who oppose his policies so that he can lead the public through stages they dislike to ends they approve of.

    Many people may say that there are more important issues than this on which to vote, that Gordon Brown has made a personal apology and spent over half an hour with the lady in question, but they are missing the point. It was Brown's moaning to his staff that they had made a mistake in selecting the woman for an interview which demeans his personal and political stature. She was exactly the sort of person he should have been talking to. He did have answers for her questions (though she didn't stop talking long enough to hear them at the time) and he had to be brief. He did treat her with great respect until he was back in his own car. But then he betrayed a failure of significant proportions, called her a bigot and complained about his staff for selecting her.

    I have stood up for Brown for a decade because he actually had a grip on some big political and economic realities - the first time in my life we had someone who had a real clue, though John Major was far from useless (just didn't have a party behind him). But this reveals him as lacking in the empathy essential for a leader. Add to that his scientific ignorance and the conclusion must be: He has got to go.

    That leaves the country in a disastrous position unless somebody rises to the occasion, with a following in Parliament and in the country. Alistair Darling is a safe pair of hands, but a PM?

    As for the Institute of Fiscal Studies, those guys are a joke. They seem to think that they understand the economic model, that they can predict growth in various areas, and that a government can decide and declare in advance how, how much and where they will tax, how, how much and where spend, and how reduce national debt. Alastair Darling has explained his commitment to reduce the debt and given the time table. He has said where his priorities are for the maintenance of services and employment, and that is as far as anyone can go.

    APRIL 29th 2010
    What a mess. Yesterday I wrote "Gordon Brown has got to go!". It was no longer to turn a blind eye to what his critics see as the flaws in his character, his inner arrogance which vies with a genuine humility and sometimes rises to the surface. More seriously, it also sometimes prevents him from understanding his opponents even when he tolerates them. But are we seriously to contemplate swapping him and the rest of his team for the alternatives? Labour have made many mistakes, but they have learned a lot. They have done a lot. The others have done nothing, the valid complaints they make are well known, but of their ability to do better I see no evidence whatsoever. The internal contradictions in the policies put forward by Tories and Liberals, where they differ from Labour, are massive. The public will unfortunately buy them, as the public will not see these contradictions, as they are embedded in the public mind. Brown's latest gaffe will lose him some vital votes from amongst those who have voted labour (often for the wrong reasons) all their lives. I don't see how he an win now - the maths are against him. He needed a HIGH turn out. He has just turned some of his voters off. It was going to be close anyway. Now he needs a miracle.

    This evening we had the final Prime Ministerial debate on TV. Brown won it hands down, Cameron had nothing to say, Clegg's only big point is his lifting of the tax threshhold to ensure no tax is payable on the first $10 or £11 thousand pounds of earned income. It is a measure I have advocated for years but the Treasury boffins say its a loser and maybe now is not the moment to intriduce it. Anyway, the selected audience the BBC had chosen from uncommitted voters were completely fooled and gave Cameron the points, followed by Cleg with Gordon (who they now hate) last. Poor sods. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. But I am afraid that's the way it goes. In Question Time on BBC TV aferwards we had the barmy Janet Street Porter who hasn't brain at all holding forth at 90 decibels. What a country. Dimbleby did his best but he hasn't a clue either. Later it was a relief to find Rory Bremner (has brain) and Clare Sweeny (best of British) had their ears an eyes working and detected the reality. But some of the British public are badly hurt and they do not understand either the national or the global economy. Vince Cable, who does (somewhat) is getting quieter as time passes. Very wise, Vince. You might find the nation turning to you to show some financial leadership on the level of Gordon Brown....

    MAY 2nd 2010
    Now we have had the Jeremy Paxman interviews. Anybody who heard them and now votes for Cameron is in my view crazy. He could not answer a single point made by Paxman without dishonesty in the argument of some sort. Once again he raised the point about Labour 'not fixing the roof while the sun was shining' while being totally confused as to whether that meant more or less government spending!!! Paxman does not understahd what it means himself. In the Brown interview, Brown did not allow Paxamn to get away with anything. Paxman's questions were all answered and his logic and understanding exposed as shallow. Anything worthwhile in Clegg's wish list that is possible can be introduced when appropriate by a Labour government.

    The simple point is this: Gordon Brown undrerstands how to lead a government that has a chance of pulling this country through the next five years and the others haven't the slightest clue. Whether we like him or hate him it remains true. I would be the first to admit that what has happened in many of our schools under Labour has been an utter disaster, but they know that and have put it right in some cases. They have also has sucecsses in education. Where it is still wrong and where pupil behaviour is a disaster and the national curriculum stultifiying there is no reason to suppose Tories can correct it any quicker or, in some cases, any less to blame. I have a lot of beefs against the Labour Party and its policies, but the thought of handing power to people who are clueless on major mechanisms in the world of finance and government in general is enough to make me swallow them in the short term.

    MAY 7th 2010
    So, we have a hung parliament and worse than that, we have a complete mess, with Nick Clegg calling the shots. What an absolute fucking disaster. The public rallied, and voted, and did their best. But the Clegg factor has caused chaos.  It is quite difficult enough steering the UK and the world through what's comimg up. If I was Gordon Brown I would keep going at all costs. Cameron could form a government if he had a party that had a coherent policy, but they're lost in space even though they have more supporting voters in the country than any other due to some Labour inanities and pandering to some of their more idiotic urban supporters over the years.

    There is an anti-Tory majority in Britain to the extent that a Liberal-Labour coalition would have the support of a hugely bigger majority in the country than a Tory minority government would. The Tories do NOT have the first right to try to form a government. But Clegg has given Cameron the chance - by doing exactly what he said he would not do: act as King-Maker.

    Now we will see what Cameron and Clegg are really made of. Cameron's problem will be with his party. How can he sell their souls to Clegg? What can he count on from all the other parties?

    I predict that in the event Brown goes we will have a weak government, with a non-aggression pact between Clegg and Cameron. If Clegg wants a deal with Labour based on Brown's replacement that is absurd. Either way this affair is costing the UK serious money and interfering with our dealing with major issues. We had a PM and Chancellor who were not in hock to any vested interests and knew what they were doing. I want them back. Many Liberal voters would like a Lib-Lab deal. But Clegg has poisoned that. So Clegg has booted the ball to Cameron, as a challenge, to concede on some major political principles. How can they?

    Mind you, Brown will not give way on everything Clegg wants either, no sir.

    13:45 - Gordon Brown has now spoken in public and accepted the election result, and although for the time being he will naturally continue as PM and his government will continue to provide a stable administration and continue in all the international fora and negotiations in which they are engaged, he has also accepted that Cameron and Clegg should be given time to see if they can come to a political basis to form a new government.

    There are still some politically motivated commentators claiming that the election result has been a decisive rejection of Gordon Brown. There is no justification for this. There are those who dislike and reject him and they are very vocal; but there are probably more who think he is by far the best man for the job, even though his ability to appeal to the public is very mixed. There are no examples in our history of a man who has lasted so long as Chancellor, then as PM, gone through such unpopular wars and economic circumstances and yet, after 3 terms with their party in power, achieved such support in an election. Anyone who calls that rejection is not in possession of an independent functioning brain with freedom of thought.

    Brown is the best PM of my lifetime and unlike Thatcher, who did two very important things, and got them right almost by accident, Brown has done many things in an unspectacular and unappreciated and unloved (by many) way over a very long time. We needed Thatcher because there wasn't a man around to do the job. We needed Brown all through the last 3 terms of government years and we need his ideas and judgment still.

    The deals:
    Brown offers the Liberals electoral reform.
    Cameron offers the Liberals the abolishment of ID cards and of the National Insurance tax increase.
    Trouble is, the ID card offer will be loved by Liberals, the NI tax less so, and each are bloody awful ideas.
    The other offers by Cameron to Liberals are totally inadequate. Clegg will not be able to answer
    So Cameron will end up trying for a minority govt and deals with other parties.

    BUT! Hold the phone! Only a combination of Conservative and Liberal Democrats adds up to a solid majority to win all votes in the House.

    This means that for stable government, these two parties would have to agree on economic policies which as things stand, they do not, even if Cameron moves on tax. In addition, the Conservative position on Europe is incoherent and totally opposed to the Liberal Democrat position.

    There is no answer to this problem unless the politicians make more sense on a whole heap of issues.

    Some election notes:
    The expenses 'scandal' had almost no effect at all, apart from on those MPs who were guilty and have already resigned. I am very pleased to hear it (see my comments in another file). Because people queue outdoors, it meant a lot of people were refused the right to vote if they were not inside and holding a ballot form when 10pm arrived. However, since we depend on some very worthy but unimaginative people to run these things, and it requires imagination to learn before, not after mistakes, it is not surprising that in a few places there were cockups. These did not alter the results, but it would have been quite easy to have stretched the law intelligently and in some places it was done.

    So it is probably good-bye Gordon and Nick and Dave can struggle with the result. Serves them right. It will always be possible to replace e.g. Alistair Darling with George Osborne with one or two treasury advisors to hold his hand, but they can't all talk at once or carry the same credibility. Try replacing some Milibands, Gordon Brown and Mandy on the same basis and you will start to see what we have lost. And that nice Stuart Rose does not understand national and international finance just because he was good at running M&S. It's a big game.

    Oh, and by the way, electoral reform is irrelevant. It will make not the slightest difference to the possibilities ahead, only to who does the talking and how long it will take to make the mistakes from which we learn as the evolution of human society proceeds. It may have an effect on perceptions and self esteem and the level of violence etc of course. I am not against it if that is what makes people happy for a while.

    MAY 09 2010
    I think Shirley Williams summed up the Gordon Brown tragedy. "Shakespearian". It seems he will have to fall on his sword to feed the panicking pygmies around him, that his 'flaws' have brought him down, in the parlance of our usual media bores. However, at the moment he remains PM. It is ironic that a man who has spent his entire life being elected to positions of power and responsibility, elected unopposed by his own party as their leader, should be accused of a lack of legitimacy and moral right to his current job.

    The coalition that would make sense is one between Tories and Labour, with the extremists and Europhobes ignored, but that is why I advocated some years ago forming a new party of pro-Europe people who realise the EU can be well run providing we stop endlessly enlarging it. But I really would like to have a Prime Minister for whom I would get to my feet if introduced, or even if they came into the room. We have one now, but I can't see myself getting to my feet for any of the contenders or even wanting to speak to them.

    MAY 11th 2010
    Cameron and Clegg have cobbled together an agreement. So here we go, at this critical time, with a Party and a leader who have called it wrong on every important policy decision I can remember or, if they got it right, or did anything at all, for the wrong reasons. Now they are in charge. They have had good ministers in their time, John Major, Kenneth Clarke, Douglas Hurd, Chris Patton, perhaps one or two others I am forgetting; but most of them got big stuff completely wrong - even that nice Geoffrey Howe, though he did make up for it by realising Thatcher's admittedly useful time was over.

    MAY 12 
    I suppose things could be worse. Vince Cable will be a marginal help in preventing some sorts of economic idiocy but Brown-Darling would have been better. Clegg can prevent some sorts of European idiocy but Brown-Mandleson-Miliband would have been better. But the ID system will be put on the back burner until these dumbos realise it is essential and that the problems they think they understand can be overcome (it's just that discussing this in advance, in public, is not very sensible). To even think of running this country in the coming decade without a proper, cheaply upgradable and enhanceable ID system that can relate to cards is just ridiculous.

    I just curl my toes at the thought of William Hague representing my country in Europe. It's not that he is not a lovable and likeable and quick thinking Englishman who can express himself clearly, it's what he does not understand about how to deal with what to him are the unknwon unknowns that spooks me. The EU is a key organism and it needs people like Hague on the INSIDE, not dancing around on the outside playing up to insular 'little Englanders' to gather their approval ratings. The EU needs Britain and Britain needs the EU. These neighbours of ours are.... our neighbours. Get it? I am not calling for Fortress Europe or USE. I am calling for un understanding of evolving systems, of global politics and economics and the future.

    MAY 13the 2010
    We are into BAD decisions already. No third runway for Heathrow, no ID system linked to cards for those who should or need or wish to have them. Next they will screw up the new railway line to the north. Oh God, what will they make better? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Why couldn't they run away and play. They seem to have realised that the NI increse is not so stupid, as to raise taxes you have to do it from the profitably employed as well as others. It is a tax on those with jobs, not just a tax on profitable jobs, and as such is part of a balanced tax system. GROWTH is what is needed, of the right sort, to move slowly and surely towards a balancing of the books, and I just hope there are some civil servants with brains to tell these novices what not to cut to get it.

    MAY 16th 2010
    Well well, I have to admire and approve of the move George Osborne has initiated in the matter of calculating and presenting the financial situation and the basis for the budget. But I am not sure how suddenly this can be done and still make sense. It is certainly something that can only be done when there is (a) a complete change of government and (b) a collapse of established methods across the globe related to the same problem in many countries. In a globally linked financial world, the instant competition between currency blocks as these are played like a casino by the bankers, investors and commercial business managers, not only makes the financial forecasts a political as well as a financial statement but also a BID as in the game of bridge, or a poker-face as in that game.

    Osborne has said, rightly, he is making a rod for his own back and future governments, but he clearly believes the global system must respond and that this is the future. In fact he could be right, if we don't rock the boat while we change tack, or the boom doesn't knock Osborne overboard as it swings (Hey, I am not a sailor, out of my depth with these analogies). It is a brave move, if it is not just talk or double or triple bluff. It means the UK is leading the way, although there has been honesty in accounting in some European countries for some time - or should I say the skeletons have their own cupboards where they do not play an active role in the dynamics of the active budget. Many countries have their own cards up the sleeve, too, as well as hidden black holes. [Run out of similies now, just stop - ed.]

    Just remember, the trick is to blame the preceding government. In this particular trick, you exaggerate the problem in order to justify rapid apparent movement on the 'deficit'. There has been some very sensible reticence in discussing what are relatively volatile positions and the forecasts. I am personally not sure that an 'independent' body will be staffed by individuals with a deep understanding of our planet and its economy. I do not believe it lkely. These will be political appointments. They will be some economists whose histories and education I should like to see. Choosing these people could be a lot more critical than electing a Cameron, Clegg or known political face. Alistair Darling was no fool. Previous Tory chancellors have grossly overestimated their own knowledge. However, we shall see.

    Oh, they are just going to ask Alan Budd. That's simple, why didn't we think of that before. Dear God, it's time to die!

    Savings plan next week - Osborne

    Chancellor George Osborne has said the government will announce next week how it plans to make £6bn in spending cuts this year.

    There will be significant reductions to the costs of quangos and some Whitehall departments, he said.

    Mr Osborne also pledged to make it harder for the government to "fiddle the figures" by giving up the job of making economic forecasts.

    The coalition's "emergency Budget" will be on Tuesday 22 June, he added.

    Mr Osborne, in his first speech since becoming chancellor, said the newly formed independent Office for Budget Responsibility would publish economic and fiscal forecasts, rather than the government.

    He said these forecasts, the first of which will come out before the Budget, would create a "rod for my back down the line and for future chancellors. That's the whole point."

    'Wrong direction'

    Mr Osborne said: "This is an enormous thing for the chancellor to give up... I'm deliberately doing this because I don't think it [the current system] produces good Budgets."

    Mr Osborne said Labour's economic forecasts had mostly been wrong and "almost always in the wrong direction".

    The coalition's changes could "enhance" frontline services, he argued, saying: "In the end this is about value for money."

    He also said: "I'm absolutely clear that, alongside reform, we can improve the quality of education that people receive and the healthcare that people receive."

    "Dear chief secretary, There's no money left."
    Liam Byrne's message to successor as treasury chief secretary David Laws

    Mr Osborne said: "The Treasury's assessment is that there is a strong economic case for an immediate spending reduction of £6bn. So we are in no doubt that this action is advisable. By tackling wasteful spending now rather than later, we can demonstrate our commitment to tackling the deficit."

    The chancellor said he would like his first Budget to be about "handing out goodies", but the UK had to "live within its means" and the deficit was the "most urgent issue" facing the government.

    Liberal Democrat David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the task ahead was "colossal" and that Labour had left the public finances in an "unacceptable" state.

    The reductions would amount to about 1% of government spending, he added.

    Mr Laws said his predecessor, Liam Byrne, had left him a letter saying simply: "Dear chief secretary, There's no money left."

    Union warning

    Before becoming government partners, the Liberal Democrats had argued that spending cuts should be delayed until next year. However, the coalition deal meant they signed up to the immediate budget reduction plan.

    Mr Laws, will meet cabinet colleagues later this week to agree where the £6bn of cuts will fall.

    He said every new spending commitment and pilot project signed off by Labour ministers since the turn of the year would be individually reviewed in a bid to find savings "in addition" to the target.

    But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "With the economy so fragile and thousands still losing jobs, the government needs to avoid rushing into a round of cuts.

    "If the economy suffers as a result of decisions taken ahead of the emergency Budget, tax revenues will fall and the deficit will only get worse. This is not a time to wield the axe without very careful consideration of the wider consequences."

    On Sunday, Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that an audit of the government's books had already found some "crazy" spending decisions.

    As an example, the prime minister highlighted the fact bonuses were paid to 75% of all senior civil servants.

    MAY 19 2010

    That's the link to the BBC News page on Nick Clegg's announcement that he is promising
    "biggest shake-up of our democracy" in 178 years.

    It is not impossible to do what he suggests, and I get the distinct impression that this announcement has been made because both Cleg and Cameron and thei team are utterly, completely DESPERATE to think of a way to tap into some sort of new zeitgeist. Government cannot solve your problems, they are saying, so we must get off your back so you have the time to take things on yourselves.  Sounds bold and inspiring.

    But just a second, how on earth does reducing CCTV security cameras help? The whole point of modern technology is that it gives individuals immense freedom and power, quite unbelievable in fact. A small quid-pro-quo is that the same technology can be used to prevent ABUSE of these great freedoms and powers. I do not know anyone whose life has been in any way impaired or threatened by what Clegg and Cameron call 'The surveillance society'. What I do know it that CCTV could be more intelligently used.

    Then we have the abandonment not just of ID cards but of any ID database. They have been led to believe that however biometric a passport it can and will be forged, so therefore it is a unnecessary expense. How little they understand. But worse, it looks like Clegg/Cameron believe the levers of control of our systems are in the hands of politically motivated people, or could now go that way. Scary eh? It seems these are frightened lads. Are they right? Well, that is not the only possible motivation. They could have decided that employing many more people, rather than systems, is the way to fight identity fraud and all the other criminal acts that could breed in the new mobile, wired world. I would be the first to agree there is a choice of futures and a choice of how to get there. But nothing these guys have said over the years has given me the slightest clue that they know what they are doing, in spite of the brilliant speaking of Cameron who is certainly rising to the occasion verbally.

    I seriously wish them well, but I also seriously wish to know where their advice is coming from in the Civil Service and the world of Academe. It is possible to do what they claim they are about to do, but it would need leadership and knowledge of a level I have never seen in political circles yet - there will be huge thrills and spills, and it might not work anyway. Those of us who accept the fact that we live in a very dangerous world can live with that (or die happily in a good cause), but I just don't get the vibe yet that they know which way is up. Never mind, give it a go and we will find out!

    MAY 20th 2010
    Here is an excellent analysis in the Independent of the real meaning of Clegg's new world.

    When Andy McSmith says 'this should not not be a problem' below he refers to the Liberal and Tory parties, not the country, I assume.
    I think he is pessimistic about the intractability of the West Lothian question. It was indeed insoluble in the past, but might be in the future.

    May 20, 2010

    Blueprint for a new politics, or much ado about not very much?

    Nick Clegg's 'great reform' speech made some bold promises. Andy McSmith analyses what they will mean in reality

    1. 'There will be no ID card scheme: no national identity register, a halt to second-generation biometric passports'

    This should not be a problem as both parties committed themselves to it before the election. Scrapping the biometric passports was Liberal Democrat policy only, but the UK is not obliged by any international agreement to add other data to passports, and not doing so will save money, so the Tories will not mind.

    2. 'We won't hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so'

    Goodbye to the database that was going to hold every email address, phone number and internet site anyone has visited. And it saves money.

    3. 'CCTV will be properly regulated'

    Since most CCTV is run by private operators, it will be interesting to see what this means in reality.

    4. 'The DNA database will be properly regulated'

    Your DNA could still go on the database even if you have done nothing wrong, but after a limited time it will be wiped off.

    5. 'There will be no ContactPoint children's database'

    This is a directory that is supposed to make sure that no child is left unprotected. The Tories had already said they would scrap it.

    6. 'Schools will not take children's fingerprints without even asking their parents' consent'

    It emerged in 2002 that some schools take children's thumbprints without telling parents. The Labour government warned schools to observe the Data Protection Act, but otherwise said it was a matter for local education authorities to set policy. Banning the practice will require legislation

    7. 'We'll remove limits on rights to peaceful protest'

    In 2005, Labour passed a law banning unauthorised demonstrations within 1km of Parliament. The Liberal Democrats promised to repeal it, which ought to be simple enough if the Tories are on side.

    8. 'We'll review libel laws'

    All of the parties agree that the libel laws need to be changed, although there are differences of opinion about how, so there may be a delay.

    9. 'We will ask you which laws you think should go'

    They will set up a website, and if enough people log in to complain about a particular law, they may or may not pay attention.

    10. 'We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences'

    But we do not know what that mechanism might be. Neither do they.

    11. 'This Government will replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber'

    This is easy to promise but a nightmare to deliver because, if the Lords do not like what is proposed, they can hold it up for months or years. It is promised that a committee will report by December, but cynics doubt whether much else will happen in this parliamentary term.

    12. 'We [will] legislate to fix parliamentary terms... unless Parliament votes [by 55 per cent] to dissolve itself first'

    Fixing the date of the next general election should be simple. But the proposed 55 per cent hurdle has already met opposition and may not get through.

    13. 'Parliament's power will be strengthened... starting with provisions to give MPs much more control over Commons business'

    A committee chaired by the Labour MP Tony Wright has proposed creating a powerful new committee to control how Commons business is conducted, and removing the power of party whips to decide who sits on select committees. This was approved by the old Commons against opposition from the leaders of both Labour and the Conservatives. The Tories have seemingly dropped their opposition.

    14. 'If your MP is corrupt, you can sack them'

    This sounds good, but it will apply only where an MP is "guilty of serious wrongdoing" and will require the signatures of 10 per cent of people living in the constituency. It will not happen often.

    15. 'We will regulate lobbying in Parliament'

    There will be a statutory register of lobbyists, but other regulation may be hard to enforce.

    16. 'This Government will be putting to you, in a referendum, the choice to introduce a new voting system'

    There will be a referendum all right, but it may not produce a vote for reform, because most Conservative MPs, a substantial number of Labour MPs and most of the newspapers will campaign for a No vote.

    17. 'We will be setting out plans to strip away unelected, inefficient quangos'

    There is no reason to doubt that plans will be set out. Identifying "inefficient" quangos, and abolishing them without causing unforeseen damage, will be harder, but it will have to happen because the Conservatives are desperate to reduce public spending.

    18. 'We are serious about giving councils much more power over the money they use'

    This conflicts with the Government's first priority, which is to get public spending down. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have talked about taking power from Westminster and returning it to a local level.

    19. 'Our plans to disperse power also include strengthening devolution to other parts of Britain'

    The Conservatives had already agreed that the Scottish Parliament should have more tax-raising powers, but their manifesto promised only that they would "not stand in the way of the referendum" on more power for the Welsh Assembly. Nick Clegg's words were more positive.

    20. 'And, of course, [we'll be] asking what we can do about the difficult issues surrounding the West Lothian question'

    This issue has dogged politicians for nearly 25 years and has baffled Britain's finest constitutional brains, so if Nick Clegg thinks he can resolve it, he is to politics what Stephen Hawking is to physics.

    MAY 25th 2010
    This file will now end, and discussion of the Colaition Government with continue in COALITION GOVERNMENT, but it will be very sparing. The die has been cast, or as young TB would say 'The kaleidascope has been shaken and the prices will settle as they may' or words to that effect, I forget.....