Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
HOW close did Gordon Brown come to setting the military on the people? In his book on his time with Brown, Damien McBride quotes the then Prime Minister fretting about the banking crisis:
“You don’t understand… If the banks are shutting their doors, and the cashpoints aren’t working, and people go to Tesco and their cards aren’t being accepted, the whole thing will just explode. If you can’t buy food or petrol or medicine for your kids, people will just start breaking the windows and helping themselves. And as soon as people see that on TV, that’s the end, because everyone will think that’s OK now, that’s just what we all have to do. It’ll be anarchy. That’s what could happen tomorrow. I’m serious, I’m serious . . . We’d have to think: do we have curfews, do we put the Army on the streets, how do we get order back?
“I’d have to resign — but I couldn’t go if there was just carnage out there: someone would have to be in charge.”
YOU know, politician, lips moving and all that. But how he’s lying is just as important as grasping the fact that he is lying. Each particular thing that he says is more or less truthful but the overall impression left is entirely untruthful:
“North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices – so we can’t expect UK shale production alone to have any effect,” Mr Davey said, pointing out that Britain is just one part of the wider European gas market.
He said it was “far from clear that UK shale gas production could ever replicate the price effects seen in the US”, where the shale gas boom has seen prices plummet.
The comments stand in stark contrast to those of David Cameron, who wrote in the Telegraph last month that “fracking has real potential to drive energy bills down”
QUOTE of the day:
“I think ]Ed Miliband ]should just go on travelling around the country, exposing himself to people”
Says Tessa Jowell.
Ed Miliband’s bespoke suit carries the tag: ‘Spencer Hart sincerely hopes you get laid in this product’
DO we care that Ed Miliband wore a bespoke Spencer Hart suit for his address to Labour Party conference? His shoes, however, were from Marks And Sparks.
One odd thing about Ed’s Hart suit: if you peer inside the jacket’s wallet pocket, the tailor has written a message:
“Hand made for Ed Miliband in the year of ****. Spencer Hart sincerely hopes you get laid in this product.”
Well, someone’s getting screwed…
THE EDL are, clearly, upset about lots of things and you wouldn’t want them turning up outside your house unannounced (people have a hard enough time when they turn out unannounced in their town).
Now, Tulisa Contostavlos is being ‘targeted’ by EDL leader Tommy Robinson. The singer reportedly called police after spotting the English Defence League leader outside her home.
POLITICIANS are gentle souls who like to create. Some make art. We’ve noticed a few of them:
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“I have a lot of fun since I took it up, in my somewhat miserable way, your hobby of painting. I have had no instruction, have no talent, and certainly have no justification for covering nice, white canvas with the kind of daubs that seem constantly to spring from my brushes. Nevertheless, I like it tremendously, and in fact, have produced two or three things that I like enough to keep.” – DE
GIF of the day: Vladimir Putin rides a Ritz cracker, the dirty, dirty, dirty wee cheesy rider:
CARTOONIST Rick Geary has launched a Kickstarter campaign we can really get behind. He wants fans to fund a book called ‘A is for Antichrist: Obama’s Conspiracy Alphabet’.
Of course, everyone loves a conspiracy theory (and the more outlandish the better) and he wants to get the weirdest rumours around about the American president put them all together in one glorious alphabet book.
TAKE heart, Nigel Farage, UKIP’s lead irritant: it’s only when people compare you to Hitler that you know you’ve made it big in politics.
The big screen at Salford Media City yesterday morning made the observation as Farage appeared on BBC Breakfast:
CONGRATULATIONS to Euan Blair , who has married Suzanne Ashman. Euan is, of course, a famously puking son to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Middle East peace expert was at All Saints parish church in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire, with his lovely wife, Cherie Blair.
It is not known if Tony gave a speech at the do, nor if the bride’s father was offered to opportunity to pay for one in instalments with a small family discount.
Cherie did not take home the leftover cake, crockery, cutlery nor any other ‘free’ items.
JEREMY Browne MP, minister for crime prevention at the Home Office, has been captured by Google Street View walking along a street in Paddington. He calls it “unnerving“. The Liberal Democrat MP for Taunton Deane, is not emerging from a massage parlour nor eating a kebab and smoking. He is suited, booted and holding his bright red ministerial box. He is the political equivalent of the Full Kit Wan**r, a title used to explain a grown man who is happy to be seen striding around in public wearing a full football kit; shirt, shorts, socks, even shinnies – the whole kit and caboodle. Professional footballers have been FKWs too, notably a former Spurs and Manchester United player who used to wear his full England tracksuit to walk around parts of urbanised Essex.
Says Browne of the bright red box:
“I think there is an issue about the intrusiveness of modern technology,” he said. “It is why the government is right to be alert to the public concern about excessive use of CCTV. We need to get the balance right with using technology to prevent crime and people not feeling that every time they enter a public space their movements will be potentially permanently recorded.”
“Campaigners are always most alert to the threats to individual liberties that can be caused by the state. But we also need to be guarded about how the evolution of technology means that private organisations can also intrude into individual privacy in a way that many people would find unsettling. Quite often the state is more regulated than private organisations.”
ON Syria… Putin blinked. President Obama:
“Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, because that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq war.”
“I welcome him being involved. I welcome him saying, ‘I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, to deal with these chemical weapons.’”
Aha! And with that Obama diverts attention and makes Russia take ownership of the war.
People despise politicians – but whose fault is that?
Huhne cheated on his wife Vicky Pryce with a Carina Trimingham and then lied and lied knows why he ended up divorced and in prison. And he knows who is to blame. No, not him for his lies. It was others who told the truth:
…to point out that the AA’s pollsters say 300,000 people have swapped speeding points and that it seemed like a minor matter back in 2003. I should not have done it. The personal consequences were monstrous for my family and me, including two months in prison.
Most of the saga was played out brutally in public, but there are some hidden eddies that reveal how politicians have become so distrusted. My endgame began when Neville Thurlbeck, the chief reporter of the now defunct News of the World, heard gossip that I was having an affair. Rather than cheapskating on the proposed investigation by hacking my phone, the News of the World put me under extensive surveillance by a retired policeman, a more expensive exercise.
VOTE Jeffrey Wagner for mayor of Minneapolis, because you can trust a man in wet clingy underpants.
OBAMA can’t win with everyone. Atlantic reports on anti-Americanism spreading in Syrian refugee camps. UN figure say two million have fled the country since the rebellion began in 2011.
Over a million Syrians have fled the war over the past six months, bringing the total outside the country up to 2 million. Half of them are children. Whether or not the U.S. intervenes, that overall figure is expected to climb to over 3 million by year’s end. UNHCR officials describe it as the worst refugee crisis in 20 years.
“Why don’t Americans and your media pay attention to this crisis?” Ahmad Hasan, who worked as a taxi driver outside Aleppo until his family fled to Amman earlier this year, asked me. . . .
A strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism also is shaping young minds within the camp. Uprooted and uneducated young men sit idle, spreading rumors and videos of violence back home via social media sites — Zaatari has its own Facebook page — often devoid of context. Boredom and lack of education make for a potent cocktail. Kids I interviewed play a version of war, where one team is the Assad regime and the other is the FSA.
Such populations may be nurturing a new generation of angry Muslim youths who view the United States, and especially its president, as hypocritical at best, and enablers of Assad’s war crimes at worst.
“Everybody is against the Syrian people,” said a former lieutenant in the Syrian military I met in Zaatari, who defected to the opposition. He was sitting on a cot in a prefab caravan, surrounded by other Syrian men wounded in the war. “We’re giving our blood but for Obama that is not enough.”
After cursing the American president in Arabic, he continued, “Obama is ‘Hussein’ – son of Muslims. If he were a Christian he would support us. But he’s a Muslim.” He shakes his head and his eyes tear up. “It’s always Muslims against Muslims.”
VIEWS on Obama’s moves on Syria:
“The Gut is a perversion of the notion of an activist president. Active does not mean reflexive. Being an activist does not imply thoughtlessness. Thinking is an activity. Considering all the possibilities can be an extraordinarily active business. (In fact, Neustadt, and through him, John F. Kennedy, had a positive mania for “options.” They thought that deciding among several courses of action was the proper function of leadership.) The Gut is the opposite of that. The Gut feels the right course of action in a situation — “He tried to kill my dad!” “With us or against us!” — and then acts on it. The Gut resists options and the active process of deciding among them. Barack Obama is not a man of The Gut, and it is driving official Washington crazy.”
SO. Who did vote for Julian Assange in Australian elections?
The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, would stand a good chance of securing a Senate seat, most likely at the expense of the Greens, a new poll has found …
The UMR poll found 25 per cent of those polled would be likely to vote for Mr Assange if he ran.
Assange stood on the Victorian Senate ticket, where his party attracted 25,667 of the primary vote, representing 1.19 per cent of the overall tally.
Who voted for him? And why?
NEWSNIGHT editor Ian Katz tweeted that Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is not good telly, even at 11pm when viewers are tying to clear their mind for sleep. Any more of this and the BBC can forget about needing to broadcast golf ever again.
“Tnks … except for boring snoring rachel reeves … playout was fun tho, wasn’t it? telly MUCH netter [sic] than snooooozepapers innit”.
Reeves, who had been interviews by Jeremy Paxman, replied:
JOHN Kerry says any attack on Syria wold not be a war. It would be an “unbelievably small” war. Tiny. Hell, it wold be a non-war. It would be a conflict, like the Falklands. Or a row. Not even that. It would be a minor disagreement between US bombers and a gas…
And that is the same Kerry, who compared Assad to Hitler and called this a Munich moment, Fallows notes:
The concern all along about the administration’s plans has been the gap between the problem it describes — moral outrage, gassing of children, overall carnage — and the response it is proposing. You can talk about that disconnection: Will an attack make a difference? Might it make things worse? I’ve tried to look into such questions in the posts gathered here. Or you could run back-to-back clips of the same Cabinet secretary saying “this is Munich” and “unbelievably small.” It’s unfair to the admirable and usually eloquent Kerry, but in a moment’s slip-up he crystallized a counter-argument.
John Kerry is Adrian Mole, who wrote in his famous diary:
Tuesday April 6th
The nation has been told that Britain and Argentina are not at war, we are at conflict.
I am reading Scoop by a woman called Evelyn Waugh.
I adore ya.
I implore ye
Don’t ignore me.
JOHN Kerry, the man whose gravitas is found almost entirely in his hair and ‘thinking face’, had a thought about Syria.
Asked if there were steps the Syrian president could take to avert an American-led attack, Mr. Kerry said, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week — turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting.”
A LITTLE story from across the pond explaining why people bother to bribe and lobby politicians (to the extent that there is actually and difference between the two acts).
So, there’s one of these nutty green things that petrol refineries have to do over there, to blend ethanol into the petrol. And they’ve got to blend a certain amount in: if they don’t they’ve got to go buy a permit for not having blended it in. A bit like the carbon emission permits we’ve got over here. However, there’s not many of those permits for not blending available and they’re getting very expensive.
At which point we find out that one refinery, just the one mind, has been allowed to not have to buy permits and also not blend the ethanol in.
So it was more than a little curious that the EPA, as part of its rule, announced it was exempting just one mystery refinery (out of 143) from this year’s mandate. The dispensation amounts to a significant financial favor to one lucky player, as I wrote in the Journal on Friday. Further reporting has revealed that the refinery is Alon USA Energy’s Krotz Springs facility in Louisiana. There’s reason to wonder why Krotz Springs alone got a deal.
ONE thing you can say about a lot of xenophobes is that they tend to be quite stupid. One Australian election candidate lived up to that notion, saying on TV that she thought Islam is a country.
Unsurprisingly, she’s stepped down.
Stephanie Banister – Australia’s answer to Sarah Palin – was rightly hooted at with derision after she made a huge boob of herself on television. While discussing her views on immigration, not only did she think Islam was a country, but she also confused the Arabic term ‘haram’ (which means ‘forbidden’) with the Qur’an and proudly stated that Jews followed Jesus.
“I don’t oppose Islam as a country but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said. “Less than 2% of Australians follow haram. Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”
MARY Macleod MP has just shown that she’s got absolutely no clue at all about the gender pay gap:
“The gender pay gap should not exist. But it does, as we were reminded today by the Chartered Management Institute report on corporate pay. It is simply unacceptable for a man to get paid more than a woman for doing the same job.”
It’s not just unacceptable it’s also illegal. And it also doesn’t happen.
SYRIA’S Al-Thawra newspaper says Barack Obama has a “sense of implicit defeat and the disappearances of his allies“.
And then it nails him:
“Whether the Congress lights the red or green light for an aggression, and whether the prospects of war have been enhanced or faded, President Obama has announced yesterday, by prevaricating or hinting, the start of the historic American retreat.”
In other news:
Obama To Strike Syria; Seeks Congressional Approval. “Obama says he has the authority to act on his own, but believes it is important for the country to have a debate.”
HERE’S Defence Minister Philip Hammond on Newsnight, talking about stopping further chemical attacks from Saddam Hussein.
High time we dug him up and hit the Iraqi leader with sticks: