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Monday January 26th 2015

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Blue or Red corner?

Blue or Red corner?

We are constantly being reminded that that the May General Election, rather than being an ideological battle between the two usual suspects, it is much more open.....but is it? The main two protagonists have been standing toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring for some months now...but it is is the Blue Corner's "second" who is twitching on the slab, hoping for a last-minute crumb of absolution from the electorate. The mauve circus continues to be led towards that mythical New (EU-free) Dawn [...]

#Islamic State – Cause or Effect?

#Islamic State – Cause or Effect?

After the mess left behind in Iraq, Libya and Syria, Western leaders appear to have realised that the days of a “good shooting war” being good for political image have gone forever. For most political leaders, heroic speechwriter-polished phrases and Churchillian posturing are a remnant of a past when the words ” honour” and “bravery” still had currency. Today, war is recognised as a filthy misery-spawning industry which, like an appalling Grand Prix Circuit, moves from country [...]

The Paris Love-in.

The Paris Love-in.

The Summer of Love, Woodstock and now Je Suis Charlie........ Love-ins are doubtless very motivational, inspirational and emotionally regenerative but unfortunately, they carry with them a large dose of exponential decay. Other demonstrations such as Solidarność worked because they were not-only inclusive but they also hinted at revolution and violence........undercurrents which are (by definition) always missing from love-ins. Make no mistake, the events in Paris yesterday were [...]

The coming of Social Unrest

Social Unrest has little to do with Democracy or Government. It has everything to do with uneven & unfair Wealth Distribution and hungry people. See Italy and Greece...... It WILL happen elsewhere, especially in the "We're in this Together" "United" Kingdom.

The BIGGEST scandal of all

We have had many scandals in the UK. By far the greatest is that a country which (on paper) is one of the Top 10 richest in the world has a need for food banks.

Conservative Hunger Games

The Conservative solution to British hunger and poverty is best exemplified by Leader of the House & former pin-up boy of the teaching professions, Michael Gove: "Those who find themselves without money for food are not best able to manage their finances" Just like the Government! When there's not enough money in the kitty, you either borrow or do without. The trouble with the hungry is that they are unable to conjure-up food money by clever accounting tricks which make them look better off [...]

The Call of the Mild.

Political and Establishment figures keep "calling" for stuff! "Calling" appears to be used as an action substitute. They "call" for ceasefires, they "call" for international responses and so on. They even "called" on Russia to get out of Crimea! Today, it's the turn of the Archbishop of Canterbury! Today, he will CALL for more help to prevent British families from going hungry. I call on them all to shut up and DO something positive.

Beware – especially #SMEs

Whether you provide a service or whether you make something and no matter how GOOD you are, you need to tell the world about what you produce. THAT means that a large part of your job is Selling! Whenever I train people to sell, I tend to major on how to get your product or service in front of people and how to turn value into hard cash. A good Sales Presentation IS useful but as MOST entrepreneurs who fail, do so because they don't distribute or sell their product effectively, I thought [...]

The Bank Bonus Saga……..

In September 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that there SHOULD be a "clawback" system for bankers' pay. In February 2013, the EU was POISED to cap banker bonuses. In January 2014,  Prime Minister David Cameron said that a bonus COULD be clawed back but not basic pay. In November 2014, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England said that bankers' pay MAY need to be clawed back. It would seem that life on the two planets which exclusively orbit only each other....Planet [...]

#NHS and the #GP Lottery

#NHS and the #GP Lottery

Worried or embarrassed about your GP examining you ? About two months ago, my brother-in-law went to see his G.P about a back pain. The doctor examined him, told him that he'd strained his back and prescribed mild painkillers. He told George that his back would get better but that at his age, it might take some time. A couple of weeks after that, George went to the doctor again. The pain was not improving and he was beginning to walk with quite a pronounced stoop. As a surveyor, there [...]

Once watched a Conservative corporate video: "The primary objective of the Conservative Party is............" ..Bet you can't guess....— Richard Ruzyllo (@spygun) October 10, 2014

House of Cards

House of Cards

An unpleasant consequence of a Scottish 'YES' vote will be David Cameron's current stabbing pains between the shoulder blades becoming fatal. He, as Prime Minister has a DUTY to maintain the Union, so if Smuggins Salmond finally gets his way, DC will have to go. His footnote in history will be as the PM who saw the Union collapse. Traditionally, the Conservative Party doesn't leap on its leader until he or she looks fatally wounded. Once that happens, the surgery will be very [...]

Certain ARAB states sitting back?

Certain ARAB states sitting back?

Iraq's neighbours are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.  Together, they have over 300,000 active military personnel with another MILLION available for combat. The fighting and disputes in the Middle East tend to be factional and centre around disagreeing flavours of Islam. The present ISIL expansion is no exception. Instead of giving a very good impression of sitting back and allowing the West to worry about the genocide and destruction in Iraq and elsewhere, perhaps the Arab [...]

Sean 1?

Anyone else hearing the rumours that Sean Connery is preparing to stand for President of Scotland? And can anyone think of a better reason for voting 'NO' ?

Threats and Meetings just DO NOT do it!

It began with Saddam: "Killing his own people, "Outrage", "We condemn", "We will take action", COBRA meeting, Statement: "Blah Blah...unacceptable", "we will do out utmost......." with the same dreary and predictable consequences. Then we had EXACTLY the same rhetoric for Gaddafi, then Assad and now ISIL. There is just ONE practical step which David Cameron should think about : SHUT UP! Threatening Islamic fanatics whilst hiding behind America's skirts achieves absolutely nothing and only [...]

Snapshots for 13 September, 2014

12:23 pm  In the last fortnight, there has been an appreciable increase in articles and analysis of the Eurozone economy. Couple that to the ECB becoming involved in a semantic argument as to what does and what doesn't constitute Quantitative Easing, one can almost sense nascent rumblings of the economic Richter Scale. Hopefully, it's a false alarm and the seismograph stops twitching soon.....(Eurozone UNEMPLOYMENT steady at 11.5%)

Snapshots for 12 September, 2014

9:45 am Nigel MacFarage has what can only be described as a bit of a Dalai Lama. Today, he's off to Scotland to create a bit of Euro mischief with the very valid argument that Scotland may be giving up one form of political slavery for another. A YES vote will mean that they will be able to throw off the chafing shackles of Westminster Imperialist rule....but if Benito Salmond then pushes for Scotland's EU membership, the new masters will be those Brussels bureaucrats, which Nigel fears more than a dose of Ebola. On the other hand, has he forgotten that once a YES vote has been delivered, the Woad applied and Salmond has shouted himself hoarse (or preferably SILENT!) with rabid cries of  "Freeeeedommmmm!!!", Scotland will be OUT of the EU....which surely, is a GOOD thing? We sense yet another referendum  or two.


9:33 am Officially there have been NO Russian soldiers in Ukraine. However, the bodies of dead Russian soldiers have been repatriated and injured Russian soldiers are being treated both in Rostov and in Moscow. There must be a secret conflict in which Russia is participating as the paperwork accompanying the dead soldiers does not indicate their place of death.

Snapshots for 18 August, 2014

11:49 am A concept which Western negotiators would do well to get to grips with is "MASKIROVKA"...something Russia is very good at! http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/maskirovka ........... Humanitarian Aid ? OK...if you say so! That scamp Putin is still running circles around everyone. Sanctions? I still remember years ago,  the USA quietly asking Russia to please stop printing dollars. For the moment, the contest between Russia and the West appears very uneven. A good starting point would be for the West to LIFT all sanctions and force Putin to make his move :)

The Mess.

The Mess.

During the last four years or so, there has been a lot of political talk about "the mess THEY left behind". Here it is:

Snapshots for 15 August, 2014

11:44 am  Ebola, Famine and fighting in Africa.......... Rape, murder, racism, religious oppression and high explosives in the Middle East..... On the brink of war in Ukraine........HE certainly DOES move in mysterious ways!

Snapshots for 30 June, 2014

12:50 pm Cameron's ex-media chief Coulson to face payments re-trial http://reut.rs/1nXFLNv via @reuters

GLASTONBURY and its Winnebagos, air-conditioned yurts, Chardonnay and designer hippies........ reminds me of more innocent days:

Snapshots for 27 June, 2014

9:53 am  We have learned (again) that David Cameron is not a tactician but a merely a talker and purveyor of quioxotic promises, who has been unable to come anywhere near blocking the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission President. We have a quote which crystallises the futility of Cameron's stance. It is from Belgium's former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt - himself blackballed by Britain for the EU job a decade ago: "Arguing that the commission president should not be a federalist is like saying that the next pope should not be a Catholic."


9:39 am #EU If David Cameron cannot even block an "old guard" federalist as commission chief, what chance does he stand of clawing back significant powers from Brussels? After the P.M's massive "FAIL",  look out for face-saving EU consolation prizes, such as EU leaders allowing the UK a few business-friendly policies and a maybe a key commission post to oversee reforms such as the internal market portfolio. No doubt, DC's spinmeisters are already hovering over their keyboards, ready to rewrite this latest EU cock-up as a great tactical victory.


8:06 am  Prime Minister David Cameron should have negotiated quietly with other European leaders and built an anti-Juncker alliance by arguing his case through reason and gentle persuasion. Unfortunately, as usual, he could not resist the temptation to gob-off and get everyone's back up by giving his customary impression of a petulant schoolboy. The argument is now lost and Jean-Claude Juncker WILL become head of the EU executive.

Snapshots for 26 June, 2014

4:10 pm  Did the BBC man REALLY just say "THREE BITES AND YOU'RE OUT!" ??????


4:06 pm Tweeting blind from spygun.com. Hope Tweets are coming through!!   :)


Suarez2:55 pm  "I ate his shoulder with some Ñoquis and a nice Tannat Libero"


1:03 pm There are two groups of the odious Savile's victims who will never hear politicians' apologies for his vile assaults: Those who have died and those who were dead at the time of the assault.


11:32 am Errol Damelin who resigned from WONGA this month, just before the solids hit the air conditioning, owns 16.8 MILLION  Wonga shares through Castle Bridge Ventures which is based in the British Virgin Islands......PROPER British Capitalism!


11:24 am Presumably after its deception of impersonating a Solicitor, Wonga will be calculating the compensation to its victims at a rate of five YEARS at 5852% ....and what excuses will the OFT and  FCA be offering for not throwing the book at the company?


7:36 am #UKIP What does Nigel Farage do between elections? Have you noticed that he only appears when there are seats to be fought?  I like to think that he's in an earth-filled coffin in a castle somewhere near Salzburg.....


7:27 am Good to hear that, rather than those sugar-laden fruit juices, schools are going back to providing pupils with WATER........which I believe is some sort of mixer... :)


7:19 am Prime Minister David Cameron used to work in Public Relations? Not much evidence of that this week...#Coulson #Juncker  However, he is very lucky that it is only Miliband who faces him across the Dispatch Box.

Cameron in the “you know what”…..Again!

Cameron in the “you know what”…..Again!

The judge in the British phone-hacking trial criticised Prime Minister David Cameron  for not waiting until all verdicts were in before commenting on Andy Coulson, his former media chief who is facing jail. Less than two hours after yesterday's verdict, Cameron issued what he called a "full and frank" apology, saying he had taken Coulson's assurances of innocence at the time at face value, something he now realised was a mistake. The jury was however still deliberating on two further [...]

Government to shoot-up Pfizer?

Government to shoot-up Pfizer?

Select Committee members can do a bit of grandstanding, Prime Ministers deliver a bit of macho jive talk - but the fact is that politicians can do jack-s*** about the Pfizer/Astra Zeneca  deal . They CANNOT influence board or even management decisions. Read carefully what DC said this week: " Our entire approach is based on TRYING to secure the best possible deal in terms of jobs, investment and science. And that is why I believe it was absolutely right to ask the cabinet secretary to [...]

Snapshots for 1 May, 2014

2:27 pm  #Ukraine. The Blitzkreig-like advance of ethnic-Russian militia in the eastern provinces is working so efficiently and meeting with so little resistance that one could be forgiven for suspecting that there is a plan and that there always has been a plan! In fact the capitulation by local authorities and officials suggests either complicity or possibly French military advisers!  :)


10:41 am  The IMF's austerity conditions for #Ukraine, in return for cash handouts will prepare the country for membership of the EU's "Indentured Servitude Club".....alongside near-neighbours such as Greece....... The short to mid-term future looks very bleak for members of the ISC........Nowadays, the population-at-large paying for the crimes of its politicians and bankers appears to be the generally accepted norm!

In Praise of Motivation.

In Praise of Motivation.

A lot of pretentious nonsense is talked and written about "motivation" and there are many  motivational speakers who travel the world, giving strung-out executives a quick fix of "feelgood" which then dissipates just in time for a subsequent seminar and the next fix....and so on. It has become a huge industry but related more to entertainment than to personal development. Whenever I train executives, the motivational advice which I give them is disarmingly simple but devastatingly [...]

Nationalism – the Root Cause of Everything!

Nationalism – the Root Cause of Everything!

"Nationalism carries with it contradictions" was the view of Ernest Gellner, the British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist. It is these contradictions which fuel the pockets of political and social instability which the world constantly experiences. In the good old days of huge empires, from  Rome to the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian, there existed a sort of (imposed) stability but when these empires collapsed, the concept of Nationalism took hold. Nationalism, in its most [...]

Cinderella Law? Bend Over!

Cinderella Law? Bend Over!

It has been confirmed that the government is considering whether to introduce a new offence of Emotional Cruelty to Children. It is aimed at parents "who deny their children affection"  and is the result of a campaign for a "Cinderella Law" from ACTION FOR CHILDREN. The British Empire became what it was through the actions of the emotionally damaged, as have successive British governments. It is the emotionally damaged who make the world go round! We live in a country where it is not [...]

The Little Englander v The Europhile

The Little Englander v The Europhile

Whilst cocky Nigel Farage is looking increasingly like a pink Kermit the Frog, EU-enthusiast Nick Clegg retains the boyish charm and earnestness which won him so many plaudits after the 2010 "I agree with Nick" pre-election debates with Cameron and Brown. Nowadays, Farage's studied arrogance and increasing belief in his own publicity is beginning to water-down both his image and the argument. I say THE argument because he is also coming across as a one-trick pony and thus in danger of being [...]

#MH370 : What if…..

#MH370 : What if…..

The red mark on the map is the location of the American Military Base on Diego Garcia, which is is a coral atoll and part of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The disappearance of the flight has been the subject of many conspiracy theories......ranging from alien abduction to an on-board bomb. A couple of days ago, INMARSAT, a British company completed some very subtle calculations and announced the most likely resting place of flight MH370....somewhere near the bottom of the above map, [...]

We’re SO lucky !!

We’re SO lucky !!

TONITE, while me and  'er indoors  go to the Bingo & then to the boozer, I'll tell the kids to go to the railway to see if there's any discarded coal. Then, as a special treat, they can stand outside the pub with crisps, lemonade and maybe share a Woodbine! We're celebrating because I heard on the bus that Chancellor wassisname says we're going to get £15 grand and we can have it all at once! It's all because of the dificit or something.  The bloke said it was a percentage (whatever [...]

Gideon’s Pensioner, Bingo & Beer Budget 2014

Gideon’s Pensioner, Bingo & Beer Budget 2014

Above is the official "Budget Diagram" just issued by H.M.  Treasury. Presumably we have to provide the crayons. The most remarkable thing about this Budget was how small the numbers were - and I remember when ONE BILLION was a lot of money! The ubiquitous "Scheme" was in there. This one was £3 billion to boost exports. As UK exports only represent a tiny percentage of GDP and because it is only "a scheme"...no harm done there! UK potholes cost motorists about £730 million per year and [...]

Snapshots for 4 March, 2014

10:02 am  My father's family is from Lubaczow, which is as near to the Polish-Ukranian border as you can get...so I recognise and understand the collective Ukranian psyche. They are a bloody-minded people who will NOT take any shit from Russia. There is TOO much history. Imagine the relationship between a cat and a dog and you may begin to understand. AT BEST, they only tolerate each other..........


9:48 am  #UKRAINE: Usually, before a country moves from Despotism to becoming a fully-fledged Republic, there is ALWAYS a brief brush with Anarchy. In Ukranie's case, it has temporarily moved from home-grown Despotism to the threat of an alternative flavour of Despotism, but on this occasion, delivered by a foreign power. This will soon pass and the country will be able to  get on with the Anarchy before finally settling down to being a mature republic. However, as Egypt is currently showing, the cycle may have to be repeated several times before the appearance of those mythical sunny uplands of political stability.

FALLING INFLATION with Rising Prices?

FALLING INFLATION with Rising Prices?

When you are told that inflation is falling, you would naturally expect  prices to be falling . That ain't necessarily so! Many years ago, when I worked for a very large bank, I sent a team of people into town in order to find out whether the average British adult understood percentages. The answer was a resounding "No!" MOST of the people we interviewed had NO IDEA about percentages! Banks, supermarkets and even the government know very well that most people are either thick or at best [...]

Snapshots for 18 February, 2014

9:13 am After insurance industry leaders have had today's meeting with the Prime Minister, they're having a meeting with Miliband Minor. It's going to be a LONG day.


9:10 am When a CEO or Prime Minister has to handle a crisis personally, that suggests just one thing: He has a poor management structure under him or he doesn't trust the people HE  hired to complete the job effectively........ Either way, HE appointed them and is now doing THEIR job.


9:02 am  Another day, another meeting for David Cameron! This time it's with insurance industry leaders! Just to help DC with the nuances of insurance: INSURANCE is betting on something which MIGHT happen. ASSURANCE is betting on something which definitely WILL happen. Hence Life Assurance (you will DEFINITELY die) & nowadays, thanks to years of mismanagement and under- investment, we EFFECTIVELY have Flood ASSURANCE. Local Authorities and Central Government have placed the insurance industry in an impossible position. Insurance industry leaders will be "asked" not to increase premiums by too much by a government which is partly responsible for insurance claims which are already estimated to be well in excess of £1 BILLION.

Snapshots for 14 February, 2014

9:25 am  Roger Lloys Pack's funeral took place yesterday. He , of course was best-known as "Trigger" from Only Fools and Horses. According to his daughter Emily, Roger's final words to his family were "I'm fine"....... R.I.P


9:10 am  The odds are that a chunk of YOUR pension fund is invested by a Fund Manager (on your behalf) in Bank Shares. Over the years, lower dividends, as a result of those comedy bank bonuses will have an appreciable effect on your retirement fund. Who cares? You should. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/feb/13/lloyds-bank-ceo-antonio-horta-osorio-bonus-profit

Snapshots for 13 February, 2014

5:04 pm  The debate about the Scots using the Pound Sterling after  "Independence Day" is all very interesting but pointless because they are quite at liberty to use whichever currency they like.  However, there would be a problem  for instance, if interest rates moved and the variation didn't suit their spluttering (yes!) economy, King Sean and his jester Sal Mond would have to  rethink their Ruritanian/Wallace dreams and go back to the Withdrawing Board! BTW, there will be no independence because in the final analysis, the Scots are a VERY pragmatic race and  WILL "do the right thing" (sorry!) and remain where they belong - a much-cherished and loved part of the UNITED Kingdom. THAT is why today's macho posturing by an "irrelevant" such as Chancellor Gideon is....er......irrelevant.


8:24 am  The #flooding has amplified a major misjudgement by politicians of every political party. They continue to imagine that the spouting of platitudes and looking sympathetic in front of cameras is somehow "reassuring" to the public. Here's a "heads-up":  Voters certainly used to be reassured by politicians' Royal visits.......but unfortunately that was when politicians were respected. That started to dip after 1945 and was finally buried when MPs were caught thieving from the taxpayer in 2009.  They should do something useful: STAY AWAY.


8:07 am  What Governor Mark Carney was saying yesterday (in the nicest possible way) was than a few quarters of insipid above-zero growth does not immediately and definitely signify an economic recovery. Unlike politicians, who will extrapolate from a single quarter......but ONLY if if it is positive. Mr Carney is rapidly showing that he is his own man who tells it how it is. A very refreshing change.

The FLOODS: An inept response?

The FLOODS: An inept response?

As a manager and director I have always attempted to create a "No Surprises" regime. In the last few years, I have been showing businesses how to achieve that for themselves through a combination of Business Control and honest Management Audit. "No Surprises Management" is not a magic formula for corporate bliss but it does demonstrate how many of the factors which CAN affect an organisation can be controlled or mitigated. Most of us have heard of Crisis Management, which, to put it simply, [...]

Snapshots for 12 February, 2014

6:55 pm  Legal Highs cause a very small fraction of the deaths caused by Tobacco and Alcohol. End of debate.


6:29 pm BBC News Editors need to up their game as far as reportage of the #flooding is concerned. They write of "Records", they give us meaningless Statistics, with their newsreaders almost delighting in the scale of the tragedy. This sensationalist and voyeuristic style of delivery with reporters standing by blown-over trees, collapsed walls and wind-blown beaches serve absolutely no useful purpose. Asking victims with ruined lives the "How do you FEEL?" question is lazy and adds absolutely nothing to the debate.......and incidentally,  just because the Thames Valley is now flooding, is NO excuse to totally ignore the hell that West Country victims continue to experience.


5:12 pm  First Eric and now Patrick! DC really IS getting the BIG BOYS in! Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick Mc Loughlin says that when David Cameron said "Whatever it takes" to help UK flood victims, he did NOT mean "blank cheque". That is because what DC said was untrue.....and we ALL knew it! ...."Whatever it takes" does NOT necessarily mean "Whatever it takes." That's because there ARE occasions when badly-prepared political statements are no more than macho nonsense designed ONLY for newspaper headlines. #COBRA451


9:55 am Bank of England: Presumably, interest rates will be going up AND down, either side of the 7% unemployment rate?  :)


9:49 am  There was a classic "No shit, Sherlock?!" moment from "an expert" on the radio this morning: "With all the rain, wind and flooding, certain people will become depressed." It good to see that a Psychology degree is not always a waste of time.


9:42 am  I have a funny feeling that the Draghi-like "Whatever it takes" promise by David Cameron to United Kingdom flood victims will come back to haunt him. It was a VERY ill-advised thing he said, merely  in order to placate the press. Once quotas, amounts, conditions and timescales start being published by his government, he will end up looking as if he'd broken another promise and performed yet another U-turn. For the moment though, let's sit back and count the COBRA meetings.

Snapshots for 29 January, 2014

3:14 pm  Chancellor Gideon has said the rest of Britain might be unwilling to let an independent Scotland keep the pound! The SNP has responded by suggesting that Scotland might in return refuse to take on its share of Britain's 1.2 TRILLION pounds of government debt. Can Alex Salmond actually see beyond the over-romanticised notions of  "FREEDOM!".....  driven by blind idealism and Sean Connery?


3:05 pm  EUROZONE: The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low, pumped extra liquidity into the banking system and announced a fresh government bond purchase programme.... but the measures have so far not managed to unclog lending to the real economy. Watch for another slowdown....in spite of everyone attempting to talk it all UP!

Snapshots for 21 January, 2014

1:35 pm  There was an unseemly exhibition of grandstanding  by Tim Yeo MP at this morning's Energy and Climate Change Select Committee meeting as  he told  #energy bosses "you are exploiting your privileged monopoly position" and neglecting customers! The Electricity Supplier CEOs were lined up like fairground ducks in front of the committee and all came across as reasonable guys who knew that in spite of the fact that they had done their level best, it had been impossible to reconnect every customer over the Christmas period. Yet more evidence that Members of Parliament are NOT fit to even be involved in such an inquiry and as for the Committee's Chairman, Tim Yeo....anyone would think that he either had other things on his mind or that he was trying too hard to impress!

Snapshots for 13 January, 2014

9:21 am Remember John Gummer in 1990 when he tried to feed his daughter a beefburger to try to convince the public re the safety of British beef? How about David Cameron doing something similar by being present (with the cameras) at the first FRACKING test drilling in Witney? We'd ALL love to be convinced!!

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas Leftovers

I've already published a version of this recipe and have adapted it for the traditional Yule turkey and ham which usually ends up in sandwiches, curries or pies. Many years ago, I was driving through East Germany (don't ask!)  and heard this on my car radio. It was read out on an English-speaking radio station and the presenter was obviously reading it for the first time, because after he'd read it out, he appeared to have a  severe coughing fit. I won't bother with a list of ingredients [...]

MERRY CHRISTMAS, children!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, children!

...............and tonight's the night!!

Euro Christmas Wishes

Euro Christmas Wishes

My best wishes for an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender non-specific celebration of the Winter Solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all and a   fiscally successful, personally fulfilling  recognition of the onset of [...]

Christmas Spirit.

Christmas Spirit.

One Christmas morning a few years ago, an army chaplain decided to join some squaddies in their armoured vehicle for a routine patrol in downtown Baghdad. As they drove through the dry dusty streets, they were only too aware of the possible dangers that they either saw or imagined in every person or pile of rubble that they came across.  As usual, they drove at walking pace. Within about ten minutes, they found themselves surrounded by a silent crowd. They soon realised that there was [...]

2014 Predictions – PART DEUX!

The first episode of my 2014 predictions has already been published and can be found HERE. Below are my final predictions for the year and contain some extrapolations based on the government's current air-brained and totally unrealistic attitude which is largely based on surveys and statistical "facts" - usually NOT based on a statistically significant time-span. However, one has to admit that there are other predictions which are based in hope rather than fact!! See if you can spot the ones [...]

Snapshots for 20 December, 2013

10:37 am  Remember, Chancellor Gideon: There are NO reasons - only excuses! By the way  the United Kingdom's trade deficit widened to £10.0 BILLION in Q3  from £5.0 billion in Q3, representing 5.1% of GDP. Spin that! http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_347294.pdf

Snapshots for 18 December, 2013

5:18 pm  What sort of twat sees a fireman outside Waitrose with tinsel on his high-viz jacket & drops a pound coin into his Latte?


5:13 pm  Is the Home Office ABSOLUTELY sure that the United Kingdom can attract Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to this land of Elitism, Noncery, Government Racism, Xenophobia, crooked Lords and SHOCKING Educational standards?


2:15 pm  RIP Ronnie Biggs. Mind you, the Great Train Robbery (including the cost of the investigation) pales into insignificance alongside HS2.


2:04 pm  Chancellor Gideon has claimed that "the taxpayer" has made a profit on the sale of Lloyds Bank shares. That is NOT true. It is yet another example of the half-truths and selective statistics which have come to characterize this government. The money to buy Lloyds shares in the first place, was BORROWED. That had an attendant cost. Therefore, if fees and costs are deducted from the share sale, "the taxpayer" made a LOSS. Gideon is becoming Brownesque in his ability to dispose of national assets.


11:14 am Our Education System is catching up with the NHS!!  1.56 MILLION people work for the NHS. Meanwhile, 1.49 MILLION are employed in Education. Approximately 450,000 of them are teachers.


11:09 am Currently, 30.1 MILLION people are employed in the UK....... Of those, 8.15 MILLION ( 27%) are part-time!

PMQ “gesture”!!

PMQ “gesture”!!

The Prime Minister spotted Ed Balls making a brand new hand gesture during PMQs. One suspects that it might have been this:

The Inequality and Iniquity of Growth.

The Inequality and Iniquity of Growth.

This Christmas there will be millions of puzzled and sometimes hungry people staring at their televisions. Their hunger is easily explained - they are poor but what will confuse them will be the newsflashes showing smiling people shopping and talking about 'Tablets' at £500 each, Champagne, and a million other expensive items and yes...even Christmas turkeys! Then they will see celebrity chefs cooking Brussels sprouts with pancetta, more champagne, the perennial debate about goose fat versus [...]

2014 Predictions – PART ONE

2014 Predictions – PART ONE

Predicting the future has always been a mug's game. For instance, I continue to believe that the markets are all in the wrong place and overpriced and I predicted the FTSE at about 4500 - but then again, I could not have predicted the collective madness of Quantitative Easing and the real fear that politicians have of the banks. I used to understand investment...but not any more. Cheap virtual cash continues to fund the markets and to keep them artificially high. The politicians feel that they [...]

Snapshots for 6 December, 2013

11:55 am  "One of the most difficult things is not to change society -- but to change yourself." (Nelson Mandela.) http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/05/opinion/battersby-nelson-mandela/

Chancellor Gideon – Fact or Fiction?

Chancellor Gideon – Fact or Fiction?

One of the greatest pleasures in life used to be for someone to read a great work of fiction to you out loud. You would sink back, close your eyes and let it wash over you ......and all that you had to do is to compose the pictures! Unfortunately, reading out-loud is a dying art and now a pleasure only enjoyed by young children and the infirm. So imagine the frisson of  anticipation ahead of listening to Chancellor Gideon reading The Autumn Statement - (I have always been a great fan of [...]

Snapshots for 1 December, 2013

2:59 pm  Chancellor Gideon's Autumn Statement will be no more than the Conservative Party jumping out of the General Election starting blocks, as the "Giveaway Season" begins. It will be just like the Christmas Sales but you get your own money back! By definition, it is money that is currently being wasted elsewhere.


2:59 pm  One very important question: Given the recent spate of scandals (which appear to be ongoing), has the Coalition government done enough to reform the banking industry? Er......No. In fact, they appear to have done bugger all.


2:59 pm  I know that it's not fashionable...but I have great admiration for Cherie Blair...and feel very sorry for her as she has to sit quietly as the current S**t Storm centred on her hubby and the wife of a media crumbly gathers pace.


2:59 pm  A big UP to Jim Murphy MP   #TheClutha


2:59 pm  Cannot think WHY Chancellor Gideon  has had the Treasury refitted. Is it worth it? After all, according to the latest numbers, his tenure appears to be VERY finite! MILLIONS have been spent....and I bet that IKEA didn't even get a look-in!!   :)   #inthistogether #10MILLION


2:59 pm  #blair ....I bet that I can name at least ONE former P.M who would NEVER be accused of suspected "knobbage"  :)


2:59 pm  BOOKTRUST is a charity with a fab Mission Statement: To Promote Reading...What could POSSIBLY screw that up? Only political meddling which looks like "naughtiness with intent" and an embarrassment to Nick Clegg, his wife as well as the Cabinet Office. Statement please. No spin.....

Snapshots for 30 November, 2013

12:32 pm  There are those who say that the Liberal Democrats have lost their Mojo. Remember the good old days (WAS it only three years ago?) when Norman Baker and Vince Cable would get stuck into the government and create hell for the then Prime Minister - the one whose name will not be mentioned?........In May 2010, when the small question of Coalition arose, the Tories weren't taking any chances and did exactly the right thing  - they muzzled both of these outspoken old radicals (or, should I say, what passes for "radical" among Libdems). The pair of them suffered the political equivalent of castration. Now look at them....OK, their suits are a bit more expensive and people call them "Minister"....but what real use are they? Their strength  used to be in their independence....they WERE the Libdem Mojo. Unfortunately, come May 2015...it will be too late for a sudden change of suit and style because their electoral credibility will have gone with the Ministerial limo.......Both Norman and Vince will find it nigh on impossible to fit into those old grey suits and tweed jackets worn by the common people they once were.


11:58 am  The United Kingdom's Bankers and top City people don't REALLY appreciate austerity. Why? Because last year, the average banker salary increased by ONE THIRD and the income for the top 2,700 was in the region of £1.6 million EACH. Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Cable have clearly demonstrated themselves to be no more than helpless bystanders. There was the usual macho rhetoric, both pre and post the 2010 General Election but, as usual, it was nothing more than empty words. "In this together"? DON'T make me laugh.


11:43 am  The late Margaret Thatcher is being criticised for holding some of her assets in offshore trusts. Well, through the magic of PFI, The Home Office, the Ministry of Defence, as well as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs ALL pay rent to companies whose tax bills are "optimised" because they're registered offshore.

Snapshots for 15 November, 2013

2:22 pm  Here's something that has been highlighted in Neon since May 2010:  Despite many years of a mythical populist "democracy", after innumerable elections where the "will of the people" supposedly prevailed, despite all the comedy Socialist rhetoric, despite  millions of tons of environment-endangering  hot air about inclusive growth, despite promises of meritocracy and being "in this together", the United Kingdom remains a strong and stable plutocracy. Our politicians haven’t let us down, with even poor MPs being caught attempting to acquire plutocratic mannerisms, even if that meant being forced to steal from the taxpayer. Needless to say, there are side-effects, such as poverty, debt, homelessness and misery for the masses, but that’s the price they have to pay for growth and "reducing the deficit".

Snapshots for 13 November, 2013

5:21 pm #NHS Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is probably a very impressive chap - especially to politicians who are impressed by letters both BEFORE and AFTER one's name. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this eminently qualified DOCTOR is now viewed as the Mutt's Nuts on NHS ORGANISATION & MANAGEMENT! (It is called the "Halo Effect" which simply means that if someone exhibits expertise in one area, it is naturally assumed that they can tackle ANYTHING. In this case, it is  a doctor as a management expert!) Sir Brucie on O&M is the equivalent of me attempting a hip replacement or open heart surgery....and I've watched HOUSE! .................I  used to serve on the NHS MHRA  committee - me and loads of eminent medics. I can tell you that from an organisational point of view, the ones I spoke to did not know their bottom from a hole in the ground....and they didn't want to! Another screw-up by the No 10 Senior Common Room? Or (hopefully) this will be YET another report which they ignore.

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