Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good News Week Goes Bad

Election spinners were hoping for a Good News Week, what with unemployment falling, crime rates dropping and pigs flying. Then someone had to spoil it all by spilling the beans on anti-terrorism cutbacks.

Greedy Glynis Kinnock's astonishing disclosure in the Lords yesterday over cutbacks in Pakistan counter-terrorism came hard on the heels of Bunkered Brown's weasel words to the commons that the Afghan-Pakistan border was the "number one security threat". No wonder no one trusts New Labour's election pledges.

Now the struggling Supreme Leader is under pressure to explain why the foreign office was having to deal with a slashed budget of £110m because of the plummeting pound.

LibDems have accused Borrowing Brown of starving the foreign office of funds. Tories have waded in, pointing out this is not the way to run foreign policy, claiming leaked FO memos reveal budget cuts.

What a shambles. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

After unemployment 'good news', the Beeb flagged up "breaking news", reporting fiddled crime stats to prop up New Labour's election chances.

Police recorded crime fell 8% in the third quarter of last year compared with the year before, reported by BBC on-line news as "Breaking News".

Breaking News? US troops and marines getting off their ass to deliver vital aid and supplies to Haiti disaster victims— that's breaking news. But crime stats? C'mon. No one believes fiddled figures after iffy Smiffy.

But to back it up, the BBC reports: "ministers say that the British Crime Survey's separate study reveals that the risk of being a victim of crime has reached its lowest recorded level". The British Crime Survey does what it says on the tin - it's a survey stupid.

Yesterday's 'good news' on an unemployment fall led the BBC TV 6pm news bulletin. Good news that 2.46 million people are on the dole?

Good news that employment is fuelled by an increase in people forced into part-time work, with bosses forcing workers over a barrel with low pay and shorter hours in return for a job? There are still nigh on a million 16-24-year-olds out there, out of work and another 2.3 million people who are not included in the massaged dole figures.

The government's office of national statistics (ONS) is having a busy time lately, reporting today one for the borrowing bean counters, with the 'good news' that public sector borrowing came in slightly less than expected in December.

But voters don't believe 'good news' that the economy has turned a corner. Borrowing is still hitting record highs for the month. Even the government's preferred measure of public sector net borrowing came in at £15.7 billion, also a December record.

Total net borrowing reached 61.7 percent of GDP in December, the highest since records began in 1974, according to the ONS. No wonder bank governor King issued a warning to get a grip, Darling or risk the wrath of the money markets.

Pumping out 'good news' is no doubt all part of the ploy to Brownbeat election weary voters into submission. But as the Orange Party has said before, the Tories and LibDems can sit back and wait for another fine mess the government has got itself in to, to blow up in their faces.

Good news week? The Orange Party feels an old hippy stirring in the loins with a sixties protest song from Hedgehoppers Anonymous:
Have you heard the news?
What did it say?
Who's won that race?
What's the weather like today?

It's good news week,
Someone's dropped a bomb somewhere,
Contaminating atmosphere
And blackening the sky,

It's good news week,
Someone's found a way to give,
The rotting dead a will to live,
Go on and never die.

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