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Archive for June, 2009

Fraser Nelson reports that earlier today he received a threatening call from Ed Balls about his latest article exposing the government’s lies over debt and cuts, entitled pithily, “Balls Lies”.

Ed Balls has just called me up about my post from this morning , hopping mad. He instructed me to “take that post down now”. I thought he was joking: has there been some change to the constitution where ministers now have power over the media? But he was deadly serious. “You should not call me a liar,” said Balls. I told him that if he doesn’t want to be called a liar, โ€œhe shouldn’t tell liesโ€.

Extraordinary. Nelson continues:

Balls told me if I keep the post up, it will “expose” the sort of publication that we are – and our “political” bias. A curious point. McBride used to make pathetic little “threats” like this – now he’s gone, Balls has to do the dirty work himself. You’d think Balls has perhaps by now worked out that The Spectator is rather pleased to consider itself a thorn in the side of this tawdry, mendacious government. “So you will take the post down?” Balls said. I just laughed. He hung up. Matt d’Ancona was later surprised to find out that he had four missed calls from Balls on his mobile.

The rest of article concerns the substance of Balls’ economic lies (or ‘false proxies’ as Nelson reveals they are known in political circles) and it is most certainly worth reading. But I wanted to focus on the threats from a minister of the Crown made directly to a professional journalist. Channels, anyone?

It’s just not acceptable behaviour – it’s undignified, bullying and brings an office of state into disrepute. Nelson appears to be pretty good-humoured about these threats, but then he’s that sort of a chap. We should not be so forgiving. This kind of outburst from a government minister is intolerable, not least because it appears to be an attempt to muzzle the press.

It’s simple. Balls is unfit for office and should be fired for this outburst, though precisely which department he would be vacating remains unclear.

Hattip to Plato.

PS: Nelson’s parting shot is certainly worth repeating:

If you’re reading this, Ed (and I suspect you will be) then we have a serious point to make. Five years ago, you could lie like this on the radio and get away with it. Space is tight in newspapers, no one would devote hundreds of words and graphs – as we did – to expose a lie for what is. But the world has changed now. Blogging has brought new, hyper scrutiny. Blogs have infinite space, and people with endless energy, to expose political lying – no matter how small. Your claims can be instantly counter-checked, by anyone. If you stretch the truth, you can be exposed – by anyone. And if you plan to base a whole election campaign on a lie, as you apparently intend to do, then you’re in for a rude awakening.

Now there’s a rallying cry if ever I heard one. Get on with it, then ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Fraser Nelson reports that earlier today he received a threatening call from Ed Balls about his latest article exposing the government’s lies over debt and cuts, entitled pithily, “Balls Lies”.

Ed Balls has just called me up about my post from this morning , hopping mad. He instructed me to “take that post down now”. I thought he was joking: has there been some change to the constitution where ministers now have power over the media? But he was deadly serious. “You should not call me a liar,” said Balls. I told him that if he doesn’t want to be called a liar, โ€œhe shouldn’t tell liesโ€.

Extraordinary. Nelson continues:

Balls told me if I keep the post up, it will “expose” the sort of publication that we are – and our “political” bias. A curious point. McBride used to make pathetic little “threats” like this – now he’s gone, Balls has to do the dirty work himself. You’d think Balls has perhaps by now worked out that The Spectator is rather pleased to consider itself a thorn in the side of this tawdry, mendacious government. “So you will take the post down?” Balls said. I just laughed. He hung up. Matt d’Ancona was later surprised to find out that he had four missed calls from Balls on his mobile.

The rest of article concerns the substance of Balls’ economic lies (or ‘false proxies’ as Nelson reveals they are known in political circles) and it is most certainly worth reading. But I wanted to focus on the threats from a minister of the Crown made directly to a professional journalist. Channels, anyone?

It’s just not acceptable behaviour – it’s undignified, bullying and brings an office of state into disrepute. Nelson appears to be pretty good-humoured about these threats, but then he’s that sort of a chap. We should not be so forgiving. This kind of outburst from a government minister is intolerable, not least because it appears to be an attempt to muzzle the press.

It’s simple. Balls is unfit for office and should be fired for this outburst, though precisely which department he would be vacating remains unclear.

Hattip to Plato.

PS: Nelson’s parting shot is certainly worth repeating:

If you’re reading this, Ed (and I suspect you will be) then we have a serious point to make. Five years ago, you could lie like this on the radio and get away with it. Space is tight in newspapers, no one would devote hundreds of words and graphs – as we did – to expose a lie for what is. But the world has changed now. Blogging has brought new, hyper scrutiny. Blogs have infinite space, and people with endless energy, to expose political lying – no matter how small. Your claims can be instantly counter-checked, by anyone. If you stretch the truth, you can be exposed – by anyone. And if you plan to base a whole election campaign on a lie, as you apparently intend to do, then you’re in for a rude awakening.

Now there’s a rallying cry if ever I heard one. Get on with it, then ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Brown’s lies about Labour cuts are bad enough – and they are proven untruths. But can you tell when he lies? “Yeah,” I hear you say, “when the old fraud opens his mouth.” Ho ho. But give a guy a fair break, even if he seems to be determined not to give anybody else one.

I thought it would be fun to find out using a marginally more (ie: not very) scientific method whether or not the man is a liar. If you have the time, watch the first video, which is about the “science” of lying. It explains some of the tell-tale signs that scientists believe indicate whether a person is deliberately telling lies. Then watch the Boulton interview with Brown from a few weeks ago. Make your own mind up whether Brown is a truthful man – or not.

My view? An epic “not”. Brown really should carefully hide his interviews away on the radio from now on. The “tells” are a bit less obvious there.

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The Telegraph reports that the latest OECD study of the UK economy makes terrible reading for Brown and the Treasury and puts Brown’s lies about Labour cuts into clear context. His stated plans to try to fool persuade the nation into voting for him at the next election by launching a slash and burn spending programme, funded with even more gargantuan chunks of borrowing, are also thrown into disarray the day after they were announced in Parliament (or, rather, two days after they were pre-announced on TV). The impact of his self-serving and utterly dishonest course for getting himself elected – for the first time, lest we forget – will cause hardship and pain for years to come, according to the report.

In its annual survey of the British economy, the Paris-based institution told the Government to slash the size of its deficit far more than it currently intends or face major problems in the coming years.

The OECD said that Britain’s deficit would climb to 90pc of economic output โ€“ significantly higher than the 80pc level the Treasury projected in the Budget. In order to keep the UK economy in good health, it added, the Government should target “more ambitious” budget cut-backs once the recession is over.

These are conservative estimates. There are indications that if conveniently ignored public sector pension liabilities and off balance sheet, PFI costs are factored-in, that hideous number would be driven far higher. But it’s not all bad news in the report. Some is even worse:

The institution…cut its growth forecast, saying Britain will shrink by 4.3pc this year, adding that the deficit next year โ€“ at 14pc of GDP โ€“ would be worse than in any other major country.

Meanwhile, the government can’t even decide whether it is going to review its own spending plans or not, at least according to Edmund Conway’s article, which seems to be slightly at odds with virtually every other report on the subject over the past few days.

The statement is significant, since it is becoming increasingly clear that the next election will be fought over public spending, with the Labour party already attacking the Conservatives for what it claims are excessive cuts in Government spending.

It came amid speculation that the Government has postponed the expected Spending Review this year, with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne speculating that this was intended to avoid spelling out inevitable post-election cuts.

So there it is. Britain will be broke for years to come and all you get from this dissected, stinking corpse of a government are increasingly desperate attempts to save its own rotting skin. Just what’s needed in a crisis. Really inspiring stuff.

But this evil man, Brown. My word, what a lying, cheating, bullying, spiteful, poisonous, destructive, vainglorious waste of humanity this creature has become. Are you one of those people willing to be fooled by Brown’s lies? Do you really want the con-artist who drove Britain to ruin in Downing St.?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then you are either insane or a brain-dead Labour tribalist. If the former, you have my sympathy; if the latter, then you belong to an ever-shrinking minority of idiots, thank God.

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The Telegraph reports that the latest OECD study of the UK economy makes terrible reading for Brown and the Treasury and puts Brown’s lies about Labour cuts into clear context. His stated plans to try to fool persuade the nation into voting for him at the next election by launching a slash and burn spending programme, funded with even more gargantuan chunks of borrowing, are also thrown into disarray the day after they were announced in Parliament (or, rather, two days after they were pre-announced on TV). The impact of his self-serving and utterly dishonest course for getting himself elected – for the first time, lest we forget – will cause hardship and pain for years to come, according to the report.

In its annual survey of the British economy, the Paris-based institution told the Government to slash the size of its deficit far more than it currently intends or face major problems in the coming years.

The OECD said that Britain’s deficit would climb to 90pc of economic output โ€“ significantly higher than the 80pc level the Treasury projected in the Budget. In order to keep the UK economy in good health, it added, the Government should target “more ambitious” budget cut-backs once the recession is over.

These are conservative estimates. There are indications that if conveniently ignored public sector pension liabilities and off balance sheet, PFI costs are factored-in, that hideous number would be driven far higher. But it’s not all bad news in the report. Some is even worse:

The institution…cut its growth forecast, saying Britain will shrink by 4.3pc this year, adding that the deficit next year โ€“ at 14pc of GDP โ€“ would be worse than in any other major country.

Meanwhile, the government can’t even decide whether it is going to review its own spending plans or not, at least according to Edmund Conway’s article, which seems to be slightly at odds with virtually every other report on the subject over the past few days.

The statement is significant, since it is becoming increasingly clear that the next election will be fought over public spending, with the Labour party already attacking the Conservatives for what it claims are excessive cuts in Government spending.

It came amid speculation that the Government has postponed the expected Spending Review this year, with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne speculating that this was intended to avoid spelling out inevitable post-election cuts.

So there it is. Britain will be broke for years to come and all you get from this dissected, stinking corpse of a government are increasingly desperate attempts to save its own rotting skin. Just what’s needed in a crisis. Really inspiring stuff.

But this evil man, Brown. My word, what a lying, cheating, bullying, spiteful, poisonous, destructive, vainglorious waste of humanity this creature has become. Are you one of those people willing to be fooled by Brown’s lies? Do you really want the con-artist who drove Britain to ruin in Downing St.?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then you are either insane or a brain-dead Labour tribalist. If the former, you have my sympathy; if the latter, then you belong to an ever-shrinking minority of idiots, thank God.

Read Full Post »

The Telegraph reports that the latest OECD study of the UK economy makes terrible reading for Brown and the Treasury and puts Brown’s lies about Labour cuts into clear context. His stated plans to try to fool persuade the nation into voting for him at the next election by launching a slash and burn spending programme, funded with even more gargantuan chunks of borrowing, are also thrown into disarray the day after they were announced in Parliament (or, rather, two days after they were pre-announced on TV). The impact of his self-serving and utterly dishonest course for getting himself elected – for the first time, lest we forget – will cause hardship and pain for years to come, according to the report.

In its annual survey of the British economy, the Paris-based institution told the Government to slash the size of its deficit far more than it currently intends or face major problems in the coming years.

The OECD said that Britain’s deficit would climb to 90pc of economic output โ€“ significantly higher than the 80pc level the Treasury projected in the Budget. In order to keep the UK economy in good health, it added, the Government should target “more ambitious” budget cut-backs once the recession is over.

These are conservative estimates. There are indications that if conveniently ignored public sector pension liabilities and off balance sheet, PFI costs are factored-in, that hideous number would be driven far higher. But it’s not all bad news in the report. Some is even worse:

The institution…cut its growth forecast, saying Britain will shrink by 4.3pc this year, adding that the deficit next year โ€“ at 14pc of GDP โ€“ would be worse than in any other major country.

Meanwhile, the government can’t even decide whether it is going to review its own spending plans or not, at least according to Edmund Conway’s article, which seems to be slightly at odds with virtually every other report on the subject over the past few days.

The statement is significant, since it is becoming increasingly clear that the next election will be fought over public spending, with the Labour party already attacking the Conservatives for what it claims are excessive cuts in Government spending.

It came amid speculation that the Government has postponed the expected Spending Review this year, with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne speculating that this was intended to avoid spelling out inevitable post-election cuts.

So there it is. Britain will be broke for years to come and all you get from this dissected, stinking corpse of a government are increasingly desperate attempts to save its own rotting skin. Just what’s needed in a crisis. Really inspiring stuff.

But this evil man, Brown. My word, what a lying, cheating, bullying, spiteful, poisonous, destructive, vainglorious waste of humanity this creature has become. Are you one of those people willing to be fooled by Brown’s lies? Do you really want the con-artist who drove Britain to ruin in Downing St.?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then you are either insane or a brain-dead Labour tribalist. If the former, you have my sympathy; if the latter, then you belong to an ever-shrinking minority of idiots, thank God.

Read Full Post »

Bricks in Labour’s Wall
“We do need some education. We don’t need no thought control.”

I am pretty privileged on this blog because I seem to attract comments here that are remarkably enlightened and enlightening and I am grateful for them. A stand-out example is this one from a contributor who goes by the intriguing handle, Black Hole Sunset on a recent rant by yours truly about eductation. Here it is…

No mention by Burnett-Hall of the sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that comes from successful study – from simply knowning more than one did previously. No mention of the happiness and natural balance that comes from leading a productive life, from being able to provide for one’s family and friends – and, as an aside, providing for others via the tax system.

“The รฉlite here is still following an academic path created by Napoleon to produce engineers for his armies.” – this is supposed to count against the French system? The truth is that most people are not the son or daughter of a career artist (perhaps Burnett-Hall appreciates this but her remarks were taken out of context – or perhaps the Telegraph just wanted at least one contrary opinion but could only, by definition, find a prejudiced idiot to supply it).

For the majority, a high quality education that instills discipline and provides a credible career path would be a dream come true – we can’t all be, or would even want to be, artists. Very telling that everyone else they spoke to did almost nothing but heap praise on the French system.

That documentary about North Sea oil (including the first part, which is also knocking around on iPlayer) was absolutely brilliant, and very moving! (I missed it in the listings so thanks for pointing it out) As you say, we couldn’t build the Millau Viaduct (just imagine the PFI disaster that would result if we tried) and probably couldn’t duplicate the feats of the North Sea oil pioneers either – very sobering to learn just how crucial American money, expertise and bravery were to the whole endeavour, and how poorly thought of were the local workforce.

Education underpins the whole of society, the only thing I can think of that would halt our disastrous slide into mediocrity would be one or other of the various voucher schemes that have been proposed – where parents can decide where they want to apply and schools can compete for the business – no students, no revenue. I would also be inclined to allow schools to select on whatever basis they want (provided their criteria fall within the same bounds that private sector employers are allowed to apply).

I think that part of our problem is that we have a government, and particularly a civil service, which has no real competence in many of the areas in which it must operate (IT, construction, health care, education, utilities etc). They seem to think they can remedy the situation by ‘outsourcing’ competence, but this is just an invitation to get ripped off by spivs (they also can’t tell who is, and who is not, a spiv). I think this is the reason why we’ve done so badly out of Browns PFI fetish – there is no one in government qualified to negotiate PFI contracts because they have no in-house competence or expertise.

They are literally incompetent, as far as I can tell – which would would explain a lot!

Suffice to say I find it very difficult to disagree with any of this. Education does, indeed, underpin the whole of society. Not the NHS or the welfare state, education. That’s the sole, key premise from which all our politicians should operate. Until there can be political honesty about the disastrous education policies successive governments, but especially Labour governments – brim-full as they have always been of totally arrogant, privately educated, pseudo-intellectual socialist nobility (Shirley Williams, anyone?) – have imposed on this country, there can be no hope of solving the problem that is Britain’s accelerating slide beyond universal mediocrity.

There is one policy that any Conservative government must immediately pursue in order to begin to attempt to reverse the process. It must purge the education system from top to bottom of Marxist/socialist ideologies, which have a proven track record – of failure. First, that means comprehending those ideologies and just how deeply they have penetrated education and society generally. That means taking-on the places where they have been propagated for so long: universities and their teacher training schools (as well I know from unhappy personal experience).

Next, the tearing-up of failed educational theories, created by left-wing doctrinaires contemptuous of anything they view as old-fashioned or traditional (“bourgeois” and “hackneyed” in their bankrupt language) or, heaven forbid, “elitist” (competitive). These parasitical theorists usually had or have little or no practical experience of their own to inform their judgment, just an agenda, with the predictable consequence that their harebrained notions in action have served to generate a national emergency.

Children, for example, are naturally competitive and it is intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise. Let them compete. Harness this urge, don’t slap it down. Denying a child the right to compete – the chance to excel – is a betrayal and no adult, be he or she a “trained” (nowadays that simply means “indoctrinated”) teacher or university educational (so-called) expert or not, has the right to cause such irreparable damage. Yet, that is precisely what they have been doing for a generation with the result that we now have hundreds of thousands of undereducated young adults wondering around the country, with no clue about their own capabilities and no idea how to survive a recession. (The bright ones who survive the system simply leave. Again, personal experience sadly informs here. If the proportion of my brighter friends – and I am just an average Joe – who have abandoned Britain to its fate is multiplied across the country, then the unreported brain drain under this Labour government has been and is currently at epidemic levels).

Labour in particular, and Marxism-socialism generally, has betrayed these people in the worst possible way: by constantly meddling with and corrupting children’s natural rites of passage by contaminating their minds with things they do not need to worry about until they are adults, while deliberately neglecting the academic content children so desperately need and yearn for, and from which so many socialists – the Fiona Millars of this world – are loathe to admit, themselves benefited. Because this calamity has become so entrenched, I hope it’s appreciated it’s too complicated to set-out in one short blog post. Suffice to say, what children now need is a long break from the hypocrisy of not-so well-meaning Marxist-socialist adults – like Millar.

Purging the nation of these evils will be difficult – they have taken root. But it is essential if the nation is to survive in anything but name. Tories: you have been warned. Let’s hope Black Hole Sunset isn’t right about at least one thing he/she suggests, that the competence needed even to comprehend the need for, let alone launch, this titanic change of direction no longer exists in Britain today. If it doesn’t, the game’s over.

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