Friday, October 24, 2008

Calm Down Dear, It's Only A BBC Downturn

Crisis, what crisis? Recession what recession? According to the BBC, it's just a little 'downturn'. All part of the BBC's dumbed down day long Orwellian coverage of the disturbing downturn.

Brown's BBC is devoting a whole day's news coverage to the 'downturn'. The logo and message is being splashed all over the place. 

Sure the words 'crisis' and 'recession' pop up but you can't escape that darn word downturn. It's everywhere. In the headlines, the logo, sprinkled in the copy, probably in the coffee and even in the URL of the BBC 'downturn' home page

Orwellian use of a state broadcaster for government propaganda worked in 1984. But only in the novel. And this dear BBC is 2008. 

This kind of hidden persuasion from Packard's hidden persuaders is as old as the hills. If you use the word often enough and hard enough maybe some people will actually believe it. But not any more. 

People are more media savvy than in the days of Packard and Orwell. There's a thing called the internet and a very healthy political blogsphere. No one is fooled by this blatant bias and spin. 

After yesterday's scandal of the lies and deceit over fixed crime figures, trust in this government has again been blown out of the water. 

The shameful way the BBC wet its knickers over the Osborne saga while burying the Mandelson side, showed up the political bias. 

This downturn debacle will do nothing to restore any kind of trust in the government or the BBC. Why not just call a spade a spade and have done with it? Coming out in the open and telling it just the way it is, actually gains respect.

The devil is in the detail of the way the BBC justifies the use of the word 'downturn' and the way BBC editors are falling over themselves to cover for themselves. 

Apparently we're not in a recession - yet - and until we are officially, we have to put up with a little downturn. Though it all gets rather cock-eyed as "Recession looming" and "Recession fears" are the headlines running alongside the 'downturn' on the  BBC website. All very confusing.

But is the BBC down in the dumps over the use of the word 'downturn'? Is it heck. 

BBC business and economics unit editor, Jeremy Hillman, has come up with this lame and patronising  excuse:

"We may well be in a recession but we won't get any official confirmation of that for a while yet. A recession is two quarters of negative growth and as soon as we're in one you'll hear it from us."

The Orange Party can't wait.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caught Red-Handed Cooking Crime Stats

Home office and police have been caught red-handed fiddling the crime figures to make them look good. Not content with using the discredited British Crime Survey to massage statistics, the home office has finally admitted police forces have been fixing figures for  serious violent crimes.

Policing minister Vernon Coaker said crime figures could still be trusted. The Orange Party wouldn't trust that statement as far as it could throw it.

Apparently some crimes that should have been classed as the very serious GBH were actually recorded as a minor assault.

So, while figures show overall violent crime keeps going down, the official total of most serious violent crime has actually gone up by 22%.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith, in a remarkable piece of New Labour gobbledegook said: 

"Let's be clear, this isn't crime that wasn't being recorded or wasn't being reported or wasn't being dealt with. It just wasn't being recorded in the category 'most serious violence. It's just that I wanted to focus particularly on most serious violence and therefore we needed to be sure that everybody in terms of categorising it was categorising it in the same way, so that we'd be able to track whether or not all the things that we're putting into place are making a difference."

New ways of counting were brought in by the home office as part of a focus on neighbourhood crime and as a way of pulling the wool over our eyes. 

And that opened the way for the shameful Orwellian publicity poster campaign which has been popping up all over the place, on buses and on patrol cars, trying to make us all feel safe, while streets erupt in violence. It can't be happening really because the posters say it isn't.

New Labour's much-favoured and totally meaningless British Crime Survey (BCS), a skewed and very limited survey which excludes youngsters, has been trotted out by the government for years to falsely justify their claim that they are cracking down on crime.

A meaningless survey is one thing, deliberately fixing the figures is quite another. Just blaming the police, who are forced to play the game with the government's obsession with targets and crime figures, is a cop-out. 

Blair's mantra "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" is still coming back to haunt the government. After politicising the police, it is still getting up to every trick in the book to spin its way out of a decade of half-backed policies which has created the monster on our streets.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Real Folk Don't Give A Toss About Osborne

The big guns and a few peashooters are still lining up against Osborne as spinners and plumbers work overtime. But the man on a bus doesn't give a toss. He's struggling to make ends meet. Politics has been reduced to a silly little saga of the rich and powerful. This bickering has become a crashing bore. It's now gone with the wind.

After steadfastly ignoring the Mandleson connection, yesterday we had to sit through the sad spectacle of a biased BBC reporting the Osborne saga with such glee. By the 6 o'clock news, even business editor turned sleaze pundit, Robert Peston, was wheeled in for his two penneth. Hasn't he got anything better to do? There's a whole economic mess out there just waiting to leak.

It's been a great story for journalists and the Orange Party has been loving every minute of the twist and turns. Mandy has had his 'hello sailor moment'. Now we can let the matter rest, until the media dishes up more dirt on Mandy. 

Leave the last word for now to Peter Oborne writing in the Mail. Osborne was guilty of "crashingly poor judgement". But he's even less complementary about Mandleson!

So where were we before Ivor Loadsamoneyski came on the scene, Mandy threw a strop and it was handbags at dawn with bean-spiller Osborne?

Oh yes. Unemployment is at a record high. Inflation is at a record high. Government borrowing is at a record high. The Bank of England boss tells us what we already know - it's recession time, folks. 

So what is Borrowing Brown going to do about it, apart from making himself and all of us look rather foolish? And just what is that plan from the other man with another plan? Both have a chance to put their case at today's PMQs and Cameron is sure to pile on the pressure over 'boom and bust'.

As for Mandleson and the media spinners. Put them in a box and let them scratch each other's eyes out. Murdoch's gang can thunder away in the Times, Maguire can bring out his little peashooter in New Labour's sad Daily Mirror, the BBC can wet its knickers with a knocking Tory story. 

That's now gone with the wind and with the economy in tatters, frankly my dear, real people, in the real world, with real fears and anxieties don't give a damn.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mandy's Hello Sailor Moment

It's got pretty crowded on Ivor Loadsamoneyski's luxury yacht. Everyone was there tapping him up for cash or not. Mandelson reckons it's all lies and smears, Osborne is in denial, Murdoch is on a hot line to God. It's handbags at dawn. What fun to watch the rich at play.

Murdoch's tired old Times kicked it off today aided and abetted by New Labour's sad Daily Mirror, claiming Tory toff George Osborne sucked up to rich Russian guy in the hope he'd slip him a few quid for the Party. Osborne denies everything, apart from actually being there. 

It had to happen. Mandelson had lorded it up for the last few days bleating about the lies and smears over his part in this never ending story. Being wined and dined by a rich guy is all part of Brussels business. But smoothing the way for a fat aluminium contract, Moi?

So let's get this right. Global rich kid Nathaniel Rothschild told Rupert Murdoch who then told Mandy who then rang up Blair who then told Murdoch who then got Blair to call Rothschild to fire off a letter to The Times claiming that Osborne and Tory chief executive Andrew Feldman had discussed a donation from dodgy billionaire Russian mafia guy Oleg Deripaska. What a tangled web they weave. What will our Russian friend think of us all?

Some journalists have been on to Mandy for months, others just waiting for a chance to pounce on the Tories. 

For Mandy and Osborne it was handbags at dawn. Sweet revenge for Mandleson after Osborne spilled the beans on his earlier meeting with Mandy, claiming Mandleson dripped poison about Gordon Brown. 

As pointed out by the Orange Party earlier, Mandy coming back to snuggle up to Brown was just a way of keeping him out of trouble with the EU and keeping his enemy close. 

So who's been the biggest  naughty boy in all of this?

Mandy, on the one hand, was being asked to investigate this Russian guy and with the other, smoothing the way, as EU trade commissioner, to cut aluminium import duties to secure huge aluminium contracts for his pal. 

Osborne may or may not have chatted about Party donations but no cash changed hands, nor would it. That would be illegal. If anything he's guilty of very poor judgement.

And the name of the yacht at the centre of this storm? Queen K. 

The Lord of Darkness is the master of spin. But going on the attack with counter spin only means more muck will be raked up. He must be losing his touch.


Facts Get In The Way Of Poor BBC Story

Blatant bias using a headline to twist a story for political advantage is as old as the hills. Brown's BBC is at it today, claiming a report shows the gap between rich and poor is narrowing thanks to old pal Blair. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Under the headline "Rich and poor gap 'narrows'", BBC on-line news uses an OECD report by Mike Pearson to justify the headline and quotes the author saying the decline in inequality in the UK has been "remarkable".

Gushing with praise the report continues: "The gap between rich and poor in the UK has decreased since 2000, an international survey has concluded."

The report's author told the BBC: "...the poor have been getting richer more rapidly than the rich since 2000."

And guess who we have to thank for it all?

"To some extent this reflects the Blairite approach; that you do, almost, the redistribution by stealth," he said. " don't advertise the fact that you've actually put an awful lot more resources into helping the least well off in society."

Oh dear, the Orange Party has been wrong about Blair, Brown and New Labour all along. They are pretty straight sort of guys after all. But wait a minute. The Daily Telegraph has a totally opposite headline. Shurley Shome mistake?

According to the BBC, the report also says the UK still has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world.

The gap between higher and lower incomes widened by 15%, and earning inequality is worse than in most of the organisation's 30 member countries.

"Both ends of the distribution have been getting richer, but the poor actually have been getting richer more rapidly than the rich since the year 2000," said the report.

So the headline could have been "Rich Get Richer Under New Labour" or even "UK Poor Still the Poor Man of Europe". Or as the Daily Telegraph reported: "OECD says gap between rich and poor in UK among widest in the world."

And to cap it all, Pearson said that the narrowing of the wealth gap appeared to have "flattened off" in the years since 2005.

So, for the last three years, the angle and headline "Rich and poor gap narrows" well, just hasn't happened.

Is this the same OECD and Mike Pearson who in 2002 produced a similar survey - showing the gap between rich and poor in the UK had actually widened?

Auntie should take a lesson from Dragnet: "All we want are the facts, ma'am, just the facts".


Is McCain Planning An October Surprise?

Much of the media think the US election is a done deal. Politicians and newspapers are falling over themselves to throw their weight behind Obama. This may be the new Independence Day for liberal America but both sides know it's not over until the fat lady sings and McCain could spring an October surprise. 

The misguided line taken by much of the Obama supporting media was encapsulated well in yesterday's Guardian. Obama is riding high in the polls, his campaign fund is breaking all records and to top it all, Colin Powell has final come out in support. Victory is now a forgone conclusion, champagne has been ordered and the party invites sent out. 

Sorry to be a party pooper, but all three gleefully seized on by the media were not seized upon by the Obama campaign team. All three show Obama's weaknesses. His campaign team know this and were quick to play them down. 

A lead of 5.8% as shown by the RCP average does not spell victory with 14 days still to go. Al Gore was down by 5.5 points on October 21. Still down on election day, Gore went on to win the election but lost the presidency. By this polling day, it could well be neck and neck.

Swollen campaign funds is not a sign of support, it just means Obama has been much sharper. While both camps signed up to use public funds for the campaign, Obama tore up the agreement and used private funding sources instead, something Obama has admitted, putting him at a huge financial advantage. 

Obama is already on dodgy ground over his private funding which does not come under the same close scrutiny as using taxpayers cash, except funds which are suspected of coming from outside the US. 

Powell's support was greeted with a strange sort of glee by the media. Powell is a dove not a hawk but, as Bush's poodle, he helped take the US and UK to war on a lie and lied to the UN over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, based on dodgy photographs, discredited yellowcake and a debunked Iraq dossier. 

His support for Obama was seen by some as a black American brotherhood, something Obama has been very careful to avoid and that may galvanise some support for the Republicans. 

Obama's task between now and November 4 is to keep his cool, drive home the simple and consistent message of change and hope and make these remaining undecided voters comfortable with his background. 

Obama has a few tricks up his sleeve to assuage voters, like the publicity stunt taking time out to "visit his sick grandmother" in Hawaii.

McCain of course will try to do the opposite. Make voters feel uneasy and uncomfortable, while casting himself as a safe and trusted pair of hands. This has been drip-fed, ratcheted up and ratcheted down throughout the campaign.

Until recently, it suited McCain to be the underdog. After all, there are two in this Republican marriage and Palin is the attack dog. 

The line of attack on links with ex-domestic terrorist, William Ayers, and other dodgy characters from Obama's Chicago past, may have run their course. 

There's still some mileage left in his links with black power pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but voters can be turned off by too much negative campaigning so close to the finishing line. 

McCain's October surprise will focus on Obama's inexperience, credibility and background, probably all three rolled into one. Sowing the seeds of that unease with the millions of undecided voters to make them throw a wobbly before they finally have to make up their minds. 

What will McCain use as the hook to hang this on? The McCain team is not giving the game away but it may have something to do with Berg's lawsuit over Obama's citizenship which is currently being blocked by Obama and the DNC.

Many think and hope it's a done deal and this election's outcome is set in stone. Both Obama and McCain know that nothing could be further from the truth. 


Monday, October 20, 2008

Borrowing Brown Makes Us A Laughing Stock

Is there no end to the incompetence of this foolish government and the reckless way Brown thinks he can just borrow his way out of trouble? Borrowing Brown is living in a fool's paradise, making us all look like fools.

The country gasped as figures today revealed borrowing so far this financial year stands at an eye-watering £37.6 billion, the highest since records began in 1946.

Then the government was forced to go cap in hand to the US to start to repair the ravages of war and that took more than 50 years to pay it all back.

£37.6 billion and it's still only October. By the end of the financial year it's bound to top Cameron's predicted £64 billion.

While the government tries to wriggle out of the debt culture it created, the new mantra is for us all to save. But not of course for New Labour. 

Now is just the time when everyone looks to government for leadership and for help in the hard times. But a decade of waste, wars and ridiculous half-backed schemes have left the cupboard bare. 

How on earth can any sensible person justify leaving absolutely nothing in the kitty for a rainy day, let alone a so-called government. 

For Brown it is the same old tired phrase. It's the "right thing to do", the "right policy" during the current economic shambles.

Brown and New Labour know they are on the way out. So they borrow tens of billions to create another illusion and leave others to pick up the pieces. 

What words do you use for this outrage? Reckless, irresponsible, arrogant, fool-hardy, foolish. 

Brown and his gang of fools have made us the laughing stock of the world.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Battle Lines Drawn Over Afghanistan

The hopeless and unwinnable war in Afghanistan is under fire again, as the government prepares to spin its way out of the Iraq frying-pan and into the Afghanistan fire. It is no coincidence that foreign secretary, David Miliband writes in today's Sunday Times with a weak case for keeping troops in Afghanistan, while new defence secretary, John Hutton, makes a "surprise visit" to Iraq. 

The UN mandate for US-UK led occupation of Iraq runs out at the end of the year. And the timetable for withdrawal has already been agreed by Baghdad and Washington, as part of Bush's legacy. 

The troop numbers game still has to be played out though, as the government here continues to use the Iraq troop numbers as a political tool. Brown's sudden appearance in Iraq during last year's election that never was, with a troop withdrawal announcement that never was, still leaves a bitter taste.

Miliband in the Sunday Times begins with the classic schoolboy device so beloved of spinners to capture an argument. 

"Christina Lamb is an excellent journalist. But...". He then goes on to try to rationalise why UK troops will continue to be sent to the killing fields of the new Vietnam. 

Lamb, a seasoned corespondent, made a powerful case for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan "What a Bloody Hopeless War" in last week's Sunday Times, backed up today by Simon Jenkins, once a lone voice, in what is called today this "mad war" in Afghanistan.

If Miliband had stuck with just praising Lamb as "an excellent journalist" and stopped there, he would have been right and his case for war demolished. 

The Orange Party has made no secret of its distaste for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, warning back in July, that this was a war that could never be won and was developing into the new Vietnam

Fighting a Bush-Blair war on two fronts will go down as one of the most expensive and politically disastrous follies of recent decades and the most outrageous loss of life and human suffering since pompous generals and politicians ordered Tommy over the trenches at the Somme.

Troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, leaving a small historically traditional base, to that tightly controlled timetable, to coincide with when the government feels it will give them the best political advantage. 

Switching troops to Afghanistan will continue to escalate, until ministers stop copying Blair and his "taste for war". 


Heart Attack Hot Air On Spinning Sunday

Desperate efforts to spin its way out of the busted economy moved up a gear as a government planted 'positive' story over heart treatment popped up on the radar. The ink wasn't dry on the 'tough' immigration line, before today's reassurances for heart attack victims.

The Orange Party hadn't even chance to check out the Sunday papers or check up on the BBC when it posted: "next up, expect a couple of planted feel-good stories to reassure voters over public services." Government spin doctors didn't disappoint. 

BBC On-Line news reports: "Hundreds of lives will be saved every year with the introduction of a "gold standard" treatment for heart attacks across England, say ministers." 

That's "government ministers", "gold standard", "heart attacks" and "saved" all in one sentence. Quite an achievement. even for those used to writing prosaic prose and free puffs dressed up as news stories. And the BBC was not alone. 

The free puff and the line to reinforce public services are safe, centres on the use of the medically invasive balloon and tube angioplasty used for some heart attack victims. As usual, the devil is in the detail. 

Apparently, in some areas of the country this life saving angioplasty is already widely available but not in others. So this is more about trying to wriggle out of the despicable practice of the post code lottery rather than good medical practice. And it gets better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

"It is envisaged that regional cardiac networks... working in a specialist centre ... rush patients to the specialist centre, bypassing more local district general hospitals on the way."

By-pass (sic) local hospitals to the new super regional centres as part of the Darzi NHS privatisation plan and that means you can justify the closure of local hospital that much easier. 

The only criteria for medical treatment should be on medial need, regardless of where you live, who you are, or what it costs. 

Nor should someone's medical condition be used as yet another government propaganda tool which will force hospitals to look over their shoulders again to achieve unrealistic government targets. 

Only yesterday the Brown spin tried to use immigration to take the heat out of the busted real economy. Today it's health. What next? Well, schools secretary, Ed Balls, is missing out on the limelight. Troop withdrawal from Iraq? The UN mandate for occupation runs out at the end of the year.