In Scotland Osborne was wandering around like an ancient king throwing coins to the commoners, for example 500 million coins to repair and expand infrastructure for housing Trident and it’s replacement, adding to the several billion such coins already spent or pledged to Trident.
Funny thing that, what with the MPs not having voted for us to even replace Trident yet, almost like he didn’t care about that vote. Almost as if Osborne had decided that we were going to replace Trident and the vote didn’t matter. Very presidential.
He keeps popping up visiting some company or another, bright yellow or bright orange high viz all clean and new as he looks on or tries something out. The typical campaigning politician, the companies friend, the peoples friend, vote for me.
Except that the election is over, the Tories got in. Unless that’s not the election he’s thinking about.
Cameron announced he will be standing down before the next election. Now at the time I was thinking 2019 or half way through 2018, getting his replacement a year and a half to get comfortable in the big chair before starting to election campaigning. Now it’s like Cameron is on his last year or so, like a US president in the second half of his second term, coasting in the job between holidays.
Chilaxing his way through a last few free holidays . Like an employee counting down the days till they leave and no longer caring about the job, what are they going to do, fire him.
You can see it in the media as well, play a game of 'Spot the Dave' and try to find him being featured in a way that doesn't make him look embarrassed or powerless or on holiday.
All the fun of Pig gate. An angry rich man, someone who had poured significant sums of money into the pockets of various Tories in return for a job at the big table, snubbed and back for revenge. Now as the Klingon’s say, revenge is a dish best served cold, mostly so they aren’t expecting it and you can get close enough to stick the knife in real deep, but five years seems a bit long even for that. Why not go the whole hog (sorry) and release the story a year or two later, why wait so long.
Unless perhaps waiting until Dave is weak and vulnerable makes it a better blow, like for example when the people round him are counting down the days till he’s gone and being nice to his replacement.
A few years ago, after a shock Tory coalition government victory pig gate would have caused a laugh for a few days but not much more. Now though we have a man who isn’t in charge anymore, he’s already said he’s quitting, just not when, so everyone is looking to his replacement and Dave doesn’t matter anymore, no point buttering up the guy that’s leaving. So pig gate is hitting a man who, like Caesar, finds himself without friends or allies when the knife goes in.
Let’s face it when one of the only senior political figures defending you is Corbyn you know your career is over.
A year from now if Cameron is gone and Osborne is our new lord and master people will look back and see the story of a man’s bits and a pig’s head as being the thing that started the fall of ‘Call Me Dave”.
Ashcroft will be seen by history as having struck the first blow in the downfall of Dave.
China, big country, potential market, source of much investment.
Here we have Osborne on his presidential grand tour, giving speeches and meeting all the right people.
The state media have been praising his visit and how respectful he has been, not a mention of human rights to upset his generous hosts. Stage managed to give the very image of a presidential visit, just without the president.
Instead we have seen him arranging for Chinese money and companies to put in bids for HS2, I wasn’t aware UK companies had been asked to put in bids yet, oh and wasn’t parliament supposed to be voting on the whole are we doing HS2 or not thing. Yet there Osborne is getting Chinese companies involved.
Almost as if Osborne had decided that HS2 is going ahead anyway and the vote didn’t matter. Being all presidential again.
So I’m thinking about this and about next year or the year after, I’m wondering when we will be bowing and grovelling as President Osborne passes by. Or at least expected to grovel in his presence anyway.
We have three big events coming up, three big votes that have the potential to stick a lot of mud onto the politician who gets them wrong.
Trident, the replacement of a very expensive nuclear weapon, its subs and the continuation of nuclear weapons on Scottish soil. Going to be contentious that one, lots of passionate people involved. If by some chance it goes wrong for the government and they are faced with either shutting it down or moving it to somewhere in England the poor sod responsible for the mess is going to pasted in the media and the Yanks are going to be a bit upset.
HS2, big, expensive, getting more expensive every time someone quotes figures and, like Trident, it’s a government project which means it will take twice as long and cost three times as much as they claim. This one will rip up a lot of countryside, continue the London centric focus of the government by helping yet more businesses get to the big city for meetings and make lots of people and wildlife homeless. Lots of passionate people in this one as well.
Then there is the big one, the elephant in the room. Europe. The EU. The promised referendum. When it was promised UKIP was four million people and it was easy to make them look like the loony right, isolated and out of touch. Now though, not so much
This vote doesn't have a fixed date but it can't be left too long, it will be delayed and delayed and then rushed through most likely late 2016 or early 2017. This will give the government plenty of time to prevaricate and then panic to get it done before the major European elections mid to late 2017, which may well throw a huge spanner into any UK negotiations as the European powers look to satisfy their own voters and not the British.
Now with the media full of pictures of refugees filling roads and trains, with the government talking of hordes and swarms. With Germany talking of hundreds of thousands and with scenes like the Hungarian border turning into a new Iron curtain it’s far harder to talk about the benefits of the EU. Yes we aren’t part of schengen but as soon as the refugees get EU papers they are then covered by the free movement of Europeans within the EU which is something I’m sure some of the anti EU groups are highlighting.
With economic woes growing and Europe drifting slowly into trouble as the world’s economy demonstrates that it isn’t recovered and that things aren’t all rosey glasses and happy music.
It won’t take much to tip the balance of votes to Out, TV news programs changing from hundreds storming the tunnel to tens of thousands will do it, it doesn’t matter if those people are tens of thousands or genuine refugees. The pictures will matter because passions are running high, just seeing what people think is happening will be enough.
Job losses because of Europe will do the same, despite the brave words of our Politicians the UK economy is NOT robust or healthy because we live in the world and the world economy is most certainly not a stable thing right now.
A few events, TV news, big job losses, another recession or even worse a full blown recession and that will be it. Passions to the front, logic to the back and the vote will be a resounding raspberry to the Eurocrats.
Europe is a mess, it has a lot of benefits but also a lot of problems, right now its getting a lot easier to point out the problems and let’s not even talk about the slow degradation of democracy across the EU that appears to be happening.
Of those three President Osborne seems confident that Trident and HS2 will either pass or the votes don’t matter, he’s going ahead anyway.
The last one though, that’s the real deal. The man who leads the country to that vote and an Exit from the European Union is dead and buried. Career ended, there won’t be a cosy future career as middle east envoy after that, besides Blair isn’t likely to want any competition.
So Osborne isn’t going to want to be involved in any of those. Hence Dave. If they go wrong there will be Dave to take the blame, his fault, his mistakes, his problem. If they go right, well it was sound economic policy, the firm hand of the chancellor on the tiller, Osborne for President.
I’m thinking we will have Dave with us till early or mid 2017 now. He will be around long enough to take any blame then be gone. Leaving Osborne six months to get his new cabinet in place then a good two years to settle in and work on the PR before the next election campaigning starts.
Thirty months to build a solid team to lead the Tories into battle with Labour and to, what I’m sure they think will be an inevitable victory.
So Dave out by early(ish) 2017 and President Osborne presiding over us by mid 2017 with the blond mop as backup to charm the masses.
What do you think?
The highlight (sadly) of my day today was attending a job fair organised by someone. The Jobcentre has been telling people about it for weeks and then asking people to sign a form to say they can been booked on it, I didn’t bother finding out what happened if you said no.
This morning I cycled across town and found a queue outside the building, one that went round the corner and all the way to the back of what is not a small building. Not just over a hundred people waiting there but they were already letting people in and there were groups of people standing around looking distinctly too cool to queue.
Slowly we worked our way round the corner to the front of the building and to the door.
I started taking pictures so I could blog the event but was then pounced on and asked to stop,
No photo’s, you can’t take peoples pictures without their permission.
Public event, backs of people’s heads.
No you can’t take pictures, why are you taking pictures?
I’m going to report on the event, put in on my blog.
Why, are you a reporter, who do you work for.
No one, I’m a blogger, a citizen reporter.
Oh well there’s no need for that, we spoke to the media about the event and sent them everything they needed, we did that already.
That’s fine but I’m reporting for myself and for the people attending, not the people running the event.
There’s no need, we represent these people and we sent the media details. What is your name?
The event was controlled, all attendees were cycled through two doors based on surname, I was in the A – L queue and a woman was ticking off people’s names as they went in but I was separately asked my name and when I answered my name was written on a clipboard that was held by the supervisor, I didn’t see her take anyone else’s names so I guess that’s me in trouble again for a bad attitude or some such.
What is it the government says, you have no need of secrecy unless you have something to hide.
Anyway the event was held in the local Mecca bingo hall so we were told to go in and find a seat, the place was filled with fixed tables and chairs and electronic bingo things. More people came in until there must have been 200 of us there.
Then someone said hello and welcome to Mecca Bingo, this lady told us a little about the wonderful jobs Mecca bingo had and how it was a wonderful place to work then she asked did we want to play a game of bingo before we started. A few said yes, most said no.
So she asked for a show of hands, who wants to play a game of bingo, the prize is a small box of chocolates (£2 for 2 from the supermarkets). Maybe 20 people put their hands up, 180 odd kept their hands down.
Right then let’s play bingo!
So she explained how to play and the caller started shouting numbers and colours and we sat through a game of bingo.
Finally that was done and someone got a box of chocolates.
Now lets play another game at normal speed this time.
We came here for a job fair, to meet a wide range of employers who had vacancies we could apply for, not to be trapped in a room playing bloody bingo.
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK THAT US UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE TREATED WITH SOME
BLOODY RESPECT ! ! !
Finally that was done and we were told we could get up and talk to the recruiters. So off I went. I managed to go against the flow somewhat and started at the beginning just because I’m an awkward so and so but the hall was full of tables and chairs fixed in place, everyone was in the isles between the rows or round the edges meaning everywhere quickly became long queues while one person at a time got to speak to someone from the stand.
The first employer stand I got to was a charity called Workwise, nice people, helpful and happy to talk, did I need a CV, did I need help with applying for jobs, would I like to visit the church hall they use on Tuesdays and Thursdays and use a computer to get on line. They were a charity set up to help people look for jobs and offer advice to people who didn’t have a CV.
Then I came to Strode College, lots of training course, an exciting range of apprenticeships and they do adult training courses as well, nothing on line yet but I was told they were working to add on line courses and training in the near future.
The Prince’s trust, would I like to attend a four day course on becoming self employed, its free since they are dedicated to helping young people set themselves up in work. Yes that’s what he said, maybe it was because I was wearing a shirt. I did ask what his advice was in dealing with the change to self employment announced by Osbourne where you can fail to be classed as a viable business if you aren’t earning a 35 hour a week minimum wage income level, he didn’t know and couldn’t help through he was sure the Trust were looking into it.
Mind, the mental health charity. Here to tell people how important mental health in the workplace is, I spoke to the CEO briefly and mentioned that I thought given the event mental health of those NOT in the workplace was more important, well yes and that, I was told.
British Heart Foundation, a company I know locally, what are they looking for, a long list, office staff, sales team, customer support, warehouse, drivers, two sides of jobs. Great I said, are they part time or full time. Erm, what. Are they full time or part time, these are the jobs you’re recruiting for, what sort of hours are they. No, not jobs, these are all volunteer roles, we don’t have any vacancies.
The British Army. Being neither under 40 or anything anywhere near physically fit I walked past but given than more than half of the people in the room were over forty so did most everyone else.
Avon. The recruiters were noticeably NOT talking to men who waited nearby, only women, I spoke to several people who noticed this, maybe it was because we all had beards.
BY now I was causing all sorts of problems since I had gone round half the outside and was trying to move between the isles to get to the people there, this meant I was in the way of people who were trying to do the same and I take up a lot of space so I was spending more time bent into a chair space letting others go by than actually walking.
A Health care company, hello there, what sort of vacancies do you have since the sign was all about nursing homes and nothing about jobs. Qualified health carers for elderly sheltered housing and qualified nurses. Ah, do you have any other vacancies, no, well thanks for your time.
Another health company, nurses and carers, yes we have a supervisor roll that doesn’t require a medical qualification but we had so many applications already we aren’t taking any more CVs.
Another start your own business stand.
Oh look a become self employed stand though they at least had put some time and effort into it and had separate tables for a number of types of self employment.
Another company hiring nurses and carers.
A company training people to become nurses and carers, handy for all those who just spent the time going down the line and were unhappy with not being a trained carer.
Another company offering apprenticeships and training, they were busy talking to someone and though they glanced at me they ignored me after that. I did plan to go back but by the end just lost the will to live.
Boots, hey actual paying jobs. For six weeks over Christmas. Any actual long term jobs, well they were hiring several qualified staff for several local prescription desks, was I a qualified dispensing chemists assistant. I’m sorry no that’s not one of my many skills.
The range, the same people I was almost sanctioned for talking to last time, joined in to see what they were recruiting, ah, sales floor staff, exactly the same job I went to an interview for weeks ago, couldn’t do it then, still can’t.
Asda, recruiting? Any office based rolls, admin, tech support, non lifting or standing stuff. Ah that’s fine, sales floor staff and warehouse involving lots of lifting and standing. Sorry to bother you.
Another training group offering college courses to get me work ready.
Another company advertising it runs old people’s homes, hello are you looking for staff that aren’t carers or nurses, no, sorry to bother you.
Oh, a recruitment agency, Somerset’s biggest apparently, one bloke with a sign, no one talking to him and he was right at the back, someone else saw me looking and writing and said don’t bother mate their useless. Oh well.
I ran out of room after that and ended up being asked why I was there by a lady from the DWP, not the Jobcenter, she didn’t have a green lanyard, she had a proper official DWP identity badge. I said I was following the room round and ran out of stands, we chatted for a bit and she suggested I keep looking because there was lots to see.
I started to re walk the room in the opposite direction. By now there were as many people at the stands as people looking for jobs and the bingo customers were playing games at the tables, I met my old back to work advisor who was a little less than impressed along with several others I knew. Several had signed on that morning and been sent to the event without having a clue what it was and were now wandering round trying to find out what was supposed to happen.
Others I waved to or said hello in passing had been and gone already, the place was emptying fast.
I didn’t take any photo’s, call me chicken but the Job Centre has tried to sanction me for not being willing or enthusiastic already this year, getting thrown out of a job fair for trying to take a picture probably gets classed as not being willing or some such. But I reckon 200 people most of whom stayed for the two bingo games and were gone within half an hour, by the time I left an hour and a half after the event started there were maybe 30 or 40 people left.
I spoke to some nice people, helpful people, a number of companies and agencies and organisations, but for a jobs fair the number of actual jobs that weren’t nursing or caring or lifting was, the army. Which I’m too old and too fat for.
I attend these events because somewhere, somewhen, they could be helpful, because there are jobs out there.
I attend because it’s implied you don’t attend you aren’t trying and not trying gets you sanctioned.
But please for the love of whatever imaginary being you may or may not believe in, the unemployed and the jobseekers want help, we want respect and we want jobs, we don’t want to be treated to team building games and stupidity, we don’t want people offering everything other than jobs.
We want jobs, not bingo games, could we have some help with the former, not the later.
A letter to the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, posted here and emailed to his parliamentary office.
I am writing this to highlight two things that I consider to be important, even critical, to your continued success as the focus of so many people’s hope of change to our society and political system.
A significant majority of my friends voted for you and support you now because they and I feel you are the best hope we all have for breaking the stranglehold the old political establishment has over British democracy and for restoring many things that the people of this county think important, things which are dismissed by most of our political class.
Millions of people have been energised by your standing for the Labour leadership, most of whom had long since abandoned politics as being unrepresentative of them, as being corrupt and undemocratic and of being nothing more than a system for electing out of touch oligarchs to rule over us.
One of the key differences we saw in you was the presence of something normally so absent in our politicians, I speak here of principles and beliefs, of a determination to stand for those things that you held dear and not spin or twist your opinions based on the latest focus group or what your advisers considered the public view of the hour.
You have made no secret of your personal opinion regarding the existence or lack thereof, of god or gods, you have made no secret of your view that an unelected monarchy is not something that should exist in the 21st century. Both of these views are things that you have strongly upheld over the years and these are views that you upheld at the Battle of Britain memorial event.
The old media has been loud in denouncing you for a lack of respect because you chose to stand in silence rather than sing the national anthem, a song that in truth is a dirge, heavily Christian and supporting the monarchy and most strongly associated with British football games.
Had you sung it you would have been called a hypocrite in exactly the way that your future membership of the privy council is being used against you as a lifelong republican.
Many of us fully support your dignity and respect at the event, to stand silent, alone with your thoughts and to show the respect earned by the brave people who fought and died to defend this nation. Even the old media front pages that condemned your silence showed a senior minister of the government so bored with the proceedings that he spent his time looking around for a camera to present his best side to.
But rather than mention that our government had just passed yet another act in the ongoing political agenda determined to make the poor ever poorer and the rich ever richer through changes to benefits the old media instead took the opportunity to attack you, again. As they have been doing for months and are continuing to do.
I am hearing that spokespersons for the Labour party are telling people that you will sing the anthem in future, that you are going to throw away lifelong ideals and heed the words of the spin doctors, media and marketing experts and consultants that are no doubt trying to turn you into a clone of the rest of our political class. Has someone told you to shave your beard yet, they will.
But you should remember something, the people advising you to do this or that, to act like a proper politician, to not rock the boat, to fit in, they are the same sort of people who were advising Miliband and Burnham and Kendal and Cooper. People who have something in common, they all LOST the support of the electorate by being out of touch and unrepresentative of the voters and the people.
These are the advisors and consultants whose opinions have led not just Labour but most of our politicians to become distant, even hated by the population. A political class well know as liars, cheats, widely regarded as untrustworthy, fickle, spouting statistics designed to deceive and never answering a question honestly or fairly. These are the advisors behind the most un-trusted group in British society, the advisors behind the politician class. Do you really want to listen to such people?
Look at the recent event where a well known and highly experience BBC reporter destroyed her own reputation in thirty seconds. An entire career bought into disrepute because she was either following her own politics or obeying the orders of her bosses to follow the political agenda of the beeb. She twisted and spun what she had just been told and was called on it, on TV, her response that she was joking made it even worse. Her integrity is gone, everything she has said in the past becomes untrustworthy, was she spinning the facts, was she joking, who can tell. For a reporter on a major TV news organisation to lie and then claim she was only joking is shocking, both because she may think it somehow acceptable to act like that but also because her employer, the BBC has, by its silence endorsed her behaviour.
Her career is looking rocky now, how desperate is a politician going to be to allow themselves to be interviewed by a woman who could twist their words to misrepresent what they said for politics or just for a joke.
The same will be said of you Mr Corbyn, if you bow to old media pressure and sing a song calling on god to maintain the power of the monarchy. Once you throw away your integrity it is gone forever, it doesn’t matter that it was over something bog or something small, gone is gone and you will have abandoned one of the key reasons why people have chosen to follow you and support you.
In short you will be acting like any other politician and once you start doing that we will treat you as just another politician. We don’t want that, we want the hope that our old political establishment can be changed, we want the hope that you can either do it or open the door for others to do it. We didn’t support or vote for just another politician, we voted for a man who has rebelled against his own party because his principles were more important than a political agenda, that is what we voted for, please don’t abandon those principles, please don’t abandon your supporter after they placed their faith in you.
This brings me to a second and equally important matter. The Old media and their ongoing campaign against you. You have experienced firsthand the attitude that is endemic in our modern media, the arrogance that they are in charge and that everyone else is subject to their power.
Over the years our old media has developed a considerable tin pot dictator attitude as politician after politician, desperate for a sound bite or a few seconds of publicity, have crawled on their knees across broken glass to give an interview or to tolerate any abuse simply to get another 30 seconds of screen time.
Driven on by a desperate need to scoop each other our old media have resorted to bullying, intimidation and sundry criminal acts for which they are barely given a slap on the wrist and a few months holiday before being returned to the jobs they lost because of the crimes they committed.
The old media is a monster, driven on by its hunger and if you feed it then it will never go away, if you bow down to it you will never be free of it, if the reporters who hound you and block your way and thrust cameras in your face force you to stop and give them an interview or to answer their repeated questions when and where THEY WANT then you have lost and they have won because if they succeed the first time they will simply do it again and again.
Instead I would ask you a question here, something which you are either not doing or if you are then it is not being communicated.
Where is your presence in the new media? Where is your personal web page as leader of the opposition, where is your blog, where is your Youtube channel?
The old media are acting as your enemy and until they start behaving as journalists and not hate mongers trying to destroy you they should be treated as such, but people want to hear your views, they want to hear your voice and your opinions. So where are you putting your words.
Most people in the UK have access to the internet so where is your presence for these people?
You have strong support across all of society and in particular among the younger sections that have long since been abandoned or actually penalised by old establishment politicians, there is a vast pool of talent and imagination out there that can help you, people who can set up web sites and blog pages, people who can live stream your speeches and post them where millions can see the unedited truth rather than some cut and paste hatched job from a Murdoch minion.
The old media are acting like an enemy so treat them as such. When you give speeches and presentations either don’t allow the reporters and cameras in or push them to the back. Give priority to the locals and to one or two people live streaming the event to sites online and to be posted for later viewing.
Develop the habit of posting your thoughts and opinions, perhaps daily, onto a blog so that people can hear your words from you not a twisted mockery of what you say from Sky or the BBC. We live in the information age, embrace it, work with it, ask for help and take your ideals online in a way that challenges the biased politics of the old media.
With a media openly hostile to you, 60% of the Labour election voters chose you. How much more can you achieve with fair online coverage? You have a message, people want to hear it but the old media are acting as a road block, go around them, go over them or go through them, don’t allow them to own you, make them come to you asking would you please grant them an interview on your terms.
You will have advisers telling you that you need the media, you do need media to put across your views but it doesn’t have to be the old media. You asked for questions and PMQs and tens of thousands responded, ask for help to set up a widespread powerful online presence and I’m sure people will respond.
Get yourself online and out in the world, speak for yourself and leave the old media where they live these days, in the gutters.