Friday, January 29, 2010

Deceitful Charade Of Blair's Parade

The Blair circus is in town with the slippery showman set to be savaged by dead sheep at the Chilcot whitewash. A question for warmongering Blair: Why did you murder thousands with an illegal invasion?

A huge security operation is underway with taxpayers footing the £250,000 bill for Judgment Day and the disgraced ex-PM sneaking in by the back door.

But Blair is protected by his own ring of steel, with the dark forces of power and influence and the mandarin mentality of the old boys club of Brown's Chilcot placemen.

With not a lawyer among them and no 'evidence' under oath, none have the skill nor experience in forensic questioning to penetrate the slick veneer of Barrister Blair.

Two top FO international lawyers have told Chilcot the war was illegal. It was a breach of international law and therefore a crime. That's enough for the Orange Party. Why continue with the charade and allow Blair to massage his ego?

If Chilcot isn't a 'trial' then cut to the quick. Issue an arrest warrant for war crimes and let a court decide. The legal precedent is there after someone tried it on with a planned visit of an Israeli foreign minister.

A deep sense of anger and frustration has set in for the families of many of the 179 UK soldiers killed in Iraq. Chilcot is a waste of space. Thousands of vital documents remain classified. All roads lead back to Blair. His lasting legacy is a country and families shattered by an illegal war.

Slippery Blair changed his tune while cosying up to Fern Britton with a crafty pre-emptive strike at Chilcot. With brazen cheek, the master wriggler now says he would have backed the invasion even if he had known beforehand Iraq had no WMDs.

A gung-ho war to topple evil Sadam. But illegal regime change rather than hunting invisible WMDs. An arrogant PM who took the country to war on the back of a pack of lies.

Seven years and hundreds of thousands of lives lost later, the shame and scandal of the greatest moral and political disaster in recent history continues. Until today the low point was a gut-wrenching performance by Blair's shameless spin doctor-in-chief, Campbell, backing up his boss.

Now, even the former PM's weasel words will be a mere side show. Bunkered Brown is set to be dragged before Chilcot - denying that a war even took place on his treasury watch.

But Brown did not set up Chilcot to a tight remit only to indict himself, Blair or the New Labour cronies.

It's not there to "apportion blame" but to "identify the lessons that can be learned". A line so often used when a culprit is looking for an excuse to soldier on.

But after the Hutton whitewash into the mysterious death of government scientist David Kelly, who blew the whistle on sexed up WMD dossiers, it's now down to the last chance of Chilcot to hold those responsible to account.

As In The Loop's Armando Iannucci writes today, it's time for Chilcot to flex their ageing muscles: "Despite the disastrous failings of intelligence, the obvious lack of preparedness and the horrendous whiff of deceit, no one so far has apologised or got sacked. Heads did not roll; they got knighted."

Blair duped parliament and the people to launch his aggressive illegal war, motivated by displaced deference to the powerful Bush administration and a warped sense of the "right thing to do".

Passed over for his lifelong dream of the plumb EU job, Blair has been left to wander the world with his ill-gotten gains, blood on his hands, guilt on his shoulders and thousands of pounds from a City hedge fund which raked in fat profits from the banking crisis.

And this is the secret weapon New Labour hopes to use to win over the marginals in the election?

Now disgraced Blair is trying to salvage what little remains of his tarnished reputation. The deceitful charade of the Chilcot parade looks set to give him that chance.

UPDATE 6pm: Blair was heckled, booed and branded "liar and murderer" after hours lecturing Chilcot and leaving with no regrets.

Top picture: The Times


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? It's iPad

Cool Apple has confounded critics and pulled it off again, launching the iPad as the next must have device set to wipe the floor with rivals and make a fortune for the Cupertino company. Cue over-hyped copy and shameless iPlugs.

Everyone is all, like, very excited. Live blogging and twittering. But what to wear? Quasi-steampunk worsted fabrics is all the rage for cool kids in the Bay. The guys and gals over at MacFormat in Bath must be wetting themselves.

The iPad has been a long time coming, bridging the gap between smartphones and laptops which Apple reckons will do everything it says on the box - which can be sold on at eBay.

Rumour mills have been in overdrive. But Apple is notorious for keeping its new babies under wraps and away from prying eyes. After all, Steve is still the main man. Still wowing them after Ridley Scott's ground-breaking 1984 Superbowl ad and a computer named after an apple.

The Orange Party has been a Mac-head since Jobs had long hair. Spending many a Happy Hour then subbing with Quark on a Mac. Now a hacked off hack and stereotype political blogger.

So stick that up your old GUI, geeky Gatesy nerds. All a-huffin' and a-puffin' and a-stealin', with your crappy Windoze and tacky laptops.

iMac, iPod, iPhone now iPad. Cute name. Sounds like a designer tampon. Apple has been craftily using shell company, Slate Computing, to buy up domain names and trademarks of anything that fits into the broad idea of the new product, including iPad. They hope.

And let's hear it for dear old Blighty and Newcastle poly's school of industrial design, with Chingford lad, Jon Ive's design, along with the iconic iMac, unibody MacBook Pro, iPod, iPhone and every cool device Apple has ever given birth to.

3G and iPhone apps, so that's one for greedy cell network operators. Wireless for dodgy Wi-Fi hot-spots and warchalking.

It's Apple so it must be cool and expensive. Posting a whopping $3.38 billion (£2.08 billion) profit last quarter, up from the $2.26 billion previous. Worth every dollar just to keep CEO Steve in trademark black mock turtleneck sweatshirts.

But the iPad's a snip, with prices from $499 for Wi-Fi and from $629 with added 3G. Sharp-eyed shoppers can pick up a bargain at $498.99. Or pick up an iPlad in Bangkok.

A gaming device, Kindle killing ebook-reader, a really big iPhone, a really small laptop? Yup. Multi-touch is at the heart with Apple's easy to use interface replacing the mouse and keyboard with finger swipes.

The iPad is set to redefine newspapers, textbooks and magazines as part of Apple's media revolution, according to the hype. And it probably will.

Apple is hoping for a repeat of the clever iPod business model when the media player filled a gap and the iTunes store filled up profits. 

Apple's focus, goes the spin, was on "reinventing content, not tablets". And reinventing the balance sheet.

Behind the hype and razzmatazz, Apple has been busy getting publishers on board to bring books, newspapers and magazines to the iPad as well as broadcasters and movie moguls.

All part of the drive for a new platform for content creators, with books, magazines and online content and a new revenue stream.

At a featherlight 1.5lbs and sylph-like 0.5 inches thin, with a 9.7 inch multi-touch screen, this baby will slip into your handbag or satchel no probs.

Will it sell and join other killer devices in Steve's stable? Sure. Who cares what it does. It's Apple. It's cool. It's a tablet. So it must be good for you. Keep taking the media marketing medicine.

But still no Beatles on iTunes. C'mon Apples give us a break.


Bunkered Brown In Hiding

Bunkered Brown is in hiding as 'good news' dries up and the general election campaign hots up. True to form when the going gets tough - the tough get going. This time to Northern Ireland.

The Orange Party has noted before that part of the election strategy is to blow the trumpet with a daily diet of 'good news' and to link a Beaming Brown to them at every opportunity.

The BBC is falling for it hook, line and stinker. After all the election is being fought in his name.

Unfortunately there are not many goodies kicking around and when they are on the pre-election grid they have a nasty habit of blowing up in their faces.

Now Downing Street has suddenly announced the struggling Supreme Leader will give PMQs a miss today to stay over for crisis talks in Northern Ireland.

Dirty tricks and dark arts abound at election time. The Orange Party can't help thinking Downing Street got wind of a Cameron attack line on the economic mess designed to floor the PM on the floor of the House.

Bunkered Brown was noticeable by his absence from the cameras as the hullabaloo over the end of recession depression turned out to be a damp squib. Planned good news turned to bad, as most of the media honed in on the fragile state of the economy and piddling 0.1 percent 'growth' .

This recession was an accident waiting to happen. Voters know who's to blame for the dire economic mess and where he lives.

But the architect Borrowing Brown was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was left to Dreadful Darling to put a gloss on it and to be savaged by Paxman on Newsnight.

Prime ministers' questions is part of democracy - to do what it says on the tin and ask questions of the PM. But here Bunkered Brown has form, ducking and diving at every opportunity.

Commons niceties means Cameron won't get a look in and a chance to hog the limelight and soundbites. Clegg too can't put Bottling Brown on the spot. Instead it will be a B-list Hattie and Hague deputies show.

The Norther Ireland peace process gave Blair one of his few success stories and one of the best lines in 1998, as he arrived for talks: "A day like today is not a day for soundbites, really. But I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders. I really do."

But Brown is no Blair to the fickle hand of history. NI politicians know he will be out on his ears soon, striking backdoor deals with Dave. There are plenty of seasoned politicians around who can bang a few heads together and sort out a solution.

Hillsborough Castle, Belfast is only a hop, skip and a jump away. To spin that Brown has to stay overnight makes it seem he's stranded in the far flung reaches of the Empire.

But no wonder he's holed up. Today's government-commissioned report from the National Equality Panel on the widening rich and poor gap makes grim reading. A damning indictment of New Labour’s failure to deliver on social mobility. Time to go to the "back of the class", as The Times cleverly puts it.

The report shows the great divide between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 70s. Britain, it concludes, "remains a nation riven by class “from cradle to grave”.

After 13 years in power, voters can be forgiven for thinking New Labour had plenty of time to get to grips with an issue which all parties agree is one of the key responsibilities of any government which wears its liberal heart on its sleeve.

But after throwing billions of pounds at programmes designed to narrow the gap it's gone from bad to worse, blowing out of the water mealy mouthed election 'aspirations' talk.

Once again the tired old fag-end government has been shown up running out of steam and Beleaguered Brown shown up running away.

For those missing the dulcet tones and warm friendly grin of the struggling Supreme Leader don't despair. When it's time for a 'good news' event and a chance for Beaming Brown to come over all statesman like - he'll be in there like a shot.

Mid picture: Peter Brookes, The Times

UPDATE 2pm: No sooner had PMQs finished than the BBC reported Bottling Brown was on his way back to Britain with no Northern Ireland deal. What a cop out.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Beasts Come Out To Play

Pussycat Peter and Cuddly Ken have gone head to head in what Channel 4 News billed as the first "big beast" debate of the unofficial general election campaign. Nice one Jon.

The clash of the titans was much more illuminating than anything the planned set-piece election leaders' debates could hope to offer.

The old hands gave a fascinating insight into real party politics, on a day when the fragile economy limped out of recession depression with the whimper of a piddling 0.1 percent 'growth'.

At one point Ken delivered a classic put down: "Peter, for heavens sake. I know you're worried, this is very bad news for you, but for heaven's sake behave yourself." Splendid.

The Orange Party isn't going into point scoring - both were on fine form - but Mandy over used the old debating trick of trying to make out they were both in agreement to try to capture the high ground and the argument. Sneaky.

With presenter Snow looking like a spare part, the odd couple accused each other of "irrelevance" and "nonsense" as Mandy kept insisting they were in fact singing from the same hymn sheet while taking pot shots at Honest Osborne. Sly.

And once again, Saint Vince had been left out in the cold. Shame.

Full Interview: Part One ...

Full interview: Part Two ...

YouTube uploading: liarpoliticans


Recession Only Just 'Ends' With Whimper

Recession has run for cover with a piddling 0.1 percent growth. After 18 months slogging and jogging, the struggling Supreme Leader had been spinning and pinning hopes on recovery as part of the cunning election ploy. The depression may be 'officially' over for Borrowing Brown and everything hunky-dory in La-La-Land but limping out of long recession leaves a whopping bill.

Call that a recovery? Saint Vince doesn't think so nor does the Orange Party nor the public. But Daft Darling does. How can anyone in their right mind take any shred of comfort from today's shaky 'recession over' figures for the longest recession on record?

The only sure sign of the end of recession is when the final bill lands on the No 11 Downing Street doormat, swiftly passed on to taxpayers for generations to come.

And what a bill. The Bank's printed 200 billion spanking new notes and the government's borrowed £178 billion to dig the country of the mess of it's own making. Printing money brings with it the bogeyman of inflation. Borrowing billions brings down the wrath of the international moneymen.

No doubt 'recession ends' groundhog day has been fixed on the pre-election grid as part of another 'good news week' and the BBC will do its bit with cute graphics and skewed economic waffle.

Today's ONS report may well show recession 'officially' ended in the last three months of 2009 as Beleaguered Brown tries to rest on his laurels but no one gives a monkeys.

All that matters is the growth in GDP - coming in at a weedy but round 0.1 per cent. Whatever happened to 0.096?

The Orange Party's eyes will be on the next set of figures due out on April 23. So what happens if growth figures for the first quarter of 2010 show the country slipping back into recession. A quick glance at the ONS graph and it's tottering on the brink, looking decidedly delicate.

And that could put the cat among the pigeons of the election date strategists as a fag-end government put its money on a last roll of the 'recovery' dice, playing the mythical false hope game.

Honest Osborne, setting out his stall on how to stop the country going bust again, put it well: "Like an exhausted runner at the very back of a marathon race, Britain ... should finally stagger across the line that marks the end of the Great Recession.”

Every other major economy started recovering months ago. As Wat Tyler over at burningourmoney has already pointed out: "It's better that we're no longer heading down, but apart from that, there won't be much to shout about."

"We will still have lost around 6% of our GDP since the peak, and we'll be 10% below where Clown Brown predicted we'd be by now."

Red-faced economists and the media were left with egg on their faces in October as 'surprise' figures showed the recession depression hadn't ended. It was the worst ever.

Headlines and copy were hastily changed as a duped media had fallen over itself, buying into false hope and optimism, until the government statistics office (ONS) released the grim news. Today's 'growth' has been dubbed "weaker than expected" - but who'd built up the expectation?

Shame-faced Brown's deceitful promise that the UK “would lead the world out of recession” has come back to haunt him. We were one of the first in and last out. Now no one trusts New Labour's election pledges.

Voters don't believe 'good news' that the economy has turned a corner. Borrowing is still hitting record highs, inflation is lurking round the corner. A straw poll for Channel 4 News showed only 20 percent of people thought the government was responsible for the economy’s recovery.

The public has seen through the spin of the green-shoots of recovery. What do they want - debt reduction. When do they want it - now.

Borrowing Brown's flawed economics have a lot to answer for. New Labour set off on a spending spree with gay abandon in the naïve belief that borrowed cash could prop up the false feel good factor. Now the country is paying the price.

Banks are still sailing off into Galbraith's 'wild blue yonder' after trousering taxpayer's cash in the trillion pound bank bail-out con. The mountain of national debt keeps piling up. A dire economy is disappearing down a black hole.

In the real world of a real fragile economy with real people, the Deluded One has escaped by the skin of his teeth. Now he's set to take the country down a rocky road to rack and ruin and into the election with only a pathetic and shaky 0.1 percent growth for a comfort blanket.

Top picture: Scarfe, Sunday Times