April 2014

10 years good work

A decade of blogging, and other work, to be proud of.

Well done!Well done!
Congratulations are in order for Richard North and Helen Szamuely who started the EUReferendum blog 10 years ago, eventually Szamuely left to run her own blog,

All those years ago if you were dissatisfied with the output of the mainstream media you simply stopped buying newspapers and turned the TV off. It was novel to actually do something about it. What EUReferendum did was analyse the people who were analysing the news. Then if they found it wanting provide their own version. Naturally the MSM did not like this and responded. This gave us MSM based blogs which simply put out the same material and made the same mistakes but using a different format.

In turn the general public responded to this by buying even fewer newspapers. Although TV viewing figures hold up or improve you don't go to the BBC programme, Question Time, for serious politics do you? In fact political programmes on broadcast media have become worse in the last 10 years. Question Time is more than ever like a game show and the absurd adversarial approach of interviewers like Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys achieves very little.

EURefendum inspired many other blogs and UK polities is better for it, let's hope we get another 10 years from it.

Banking and the arts

Wasted talent, the death of banker bashing and the mutual concept

A farce? A farce?
The Co-op Bank, an ethical bank that's in a lot of trouble. Sir Christopher Kelly was asked by the Co-op to explain what went wrong and now the Kelly report has been published. This tells of problems going back several years but of late it went wrong because the people who try to run the bank on a day-by-day basis were undermined by others, from the board, who are a good deal less than ethical. It is certain that leaks of confidential information from the latter group were the reason that Euan Sutherland resigned, see link above. The management of the bank is done by the bank’s parent company, The Co-operative Group. This is where we find the group board. And the board is composed of elected representatives, elected by the Co-op membership.

Here diversity is all too apparent in that we find a plasterer, a grocer and, until recently, a Methodist minister. In some circles to question diversity gets you some funny looks but the truth was that apart from having bank accounts none had any practical experience of banking.

in

Selling out, buying in

It's your money but they waste it

The original Mr Bean The original Mr Bean

Poor old Vince Cable. Like his party his fortunes are on the way down. The Liberal Democrats look to be stuck as the fourth party in UK politics several points below UKIP for the foreseeable future. While the performance of the LibDem Leader, Nick Clegg, must be responsible for some of this he cannot shoulder all the blame; so attention switches to the coalition Business Secretary, Vince Cable. The National Audit Office says that the Royal Mail privatisation was wrong to sell the shares too cheaply and this has cost the taxpayer £750 million.

However, Cable is very proud of the way he handled the sell-off and has refused to resign. Perhaps we have to feel a little sorry for Cable as way back in late 2007 he was the Leader of his party and in a position to dish it out to Gordon Brown. It was during a debate on defence that Cable said -

The house has noticed the prime minister's remarkable transformation in the past few weeks - from Stalin to Mr Bean.

We now see that having a go at Brown was not only easy, he was a natural target, but the high-water mark for Cable. What a turn-around that Cable now finds himself being biffed by Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary.