Picking Losers

We are all part of Northern Rock

I had no idea, until today, that I was an investor in Northern Rock and therefore liable for its risk.  Apparently, I am however.  You see, thanks to their stupidity and over "generous" mortgage lending their books have gone a little bit unbalanced.  Now, if my books were unbalanced and I had failed to keep up my re-mortgage payments with Northern Rock they would, rightly, have got a little upset.  As it happens they have been the less than frugal ones and now are facing serious financi

What is the NHS for?

The very reason we have an NHS is to ensure that those in society who may not be able to afford the luxuries in life can at least have free (at the point of use) health care that is of the same quality to that every one else gets in society.  Such is the state of the NHS, however, that is not the case.  It is the poorest and most vulnerable in society that are getting the raw deal when it comes to health care.  If the NHS is failing these people, what is it for?

"From Womb to Tomb"

First he had to put up with the mess left behind from his predecessor, then he started to come under fire himself but now Alan Johnson has officially lost it. He is now a fully fledged Health Secretary and the process to ruining his political credibility is now well and truly under way. The Fonze has come out with a new initiative to save the country from becoming one mass of fat and therefore saving the NHS. The plan is "From Womb to Tomb" - how catchy.

Oh to be a Lib Dem

It must be great coming up with policies for the Lib Dems. OK, they have no chance of ever winning anything, but that is the point - they know this and can say absolutely anything. If I were a Lib Dem policy maker I'd ensure that our manifesto included free beer for everyone, the three day weekend, Christmas would be twice a year, I'd abolish all taxes and reduce carbon emissions in the UK to zero. Of course, they wouldn't promise any of these things because they are obsessed with trying to sound like a credible opposition.

Late and Overbudget: A story of Government projects

There are two key areas that government is particularly bad at when it comes to major projects: completing the project on time and within budget.  I think today we have found the winner of the most ridiculous example of that recurring government problem.  The Times today reports that The Ministry of Defence's 20 biggest weapons projects are £2.6 billion over budget and a total of 36 years behind schedule! (Cumulatively, to be fair to the MoD).  That is six times longer than the length of the Second World War!  Just as well we haven't got a war to fight...

The Health system is archaic and broken beyond repair.

More bad news for Alan Johnson.  It really is starting to pile up for him - though that is what happens when you are Health Secretary.  Sir Derek Wanless, an advisor who was one of the Brown's men who were behind increasing the NHS budget by £43bn over the past five years is about to break ranks and launch an attack on the failure of the scheme.  The idea was that £43bn was supposed to deliver a first-class health system.  Now, we all know that this is not exactly what we have got, but when it comes from an insider you know there really has been a failure of policy somewhere along the l

Policy Announcements, Monday 10 September


  • Gordon Brown has defended his decision to hold down this year's public sector pay rise, saying he does not want a return to "boom and bust" economics. The prime minister told the TUC in Brighton that financial discipline was essential to prevent inflation, to maintain growth and to create jobs. He received a lukewarm reaction, with some union members holding up placards opposing the below-inflation pay rises. The PM also unveiled plans to create 500,000 jobs for British workers.  


HIPs Episode 1007

The first casualties of the HIPs fiasco have already fallen.  It is being reported that many of the first packs have to be scrapped because they have been deemed invalid.  It is also reported that other packs are being held up because local councils are obstructing people conducting land surveys - a crucial part of the packs.  And to make matters worse for the government next week, both the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as well as the National Association of Estate Agents are expected to report that the housing market has suffered a substantial slowdown as a result of the scheme. 

Fan the flames to put the fire out..?!

It is getting to him - and so soon too.  That is to say Alan Johnson is already suffering from his role as Secretary for Health as it makes him come out with bizarre policy suggestions.  The latest one sounds as though it should have come straight from David "Dave" Cameron's mouth.  I am, of course, talking about the £120 fruit and veg allowance for pregnant women.  The idea being, it will mean that pregnant women will have enough disposable cash to buy life's luxuries - or at least what Johnson thinks is a luxury - fruit and veg and therefore passing on the benefits to th


Haven't had time to post for the past few days, thanks to preparing our response to the latest in the never-ending stream of consultations the Government has been running to make it look like they are listening, before proceeding to do exactly what they always intended to, however stupid the idea was shown to be in the responses. The deadline was yesterday, but now I'm off to Switzerland until Wednesday, so it will be more radio silence until then. JG is keeping things ticking over nicely, but apologies to those who have posted comments.

Dave, National Service and the end of societies ills

Vote Dave!  He has come up with a sure fire, water tight, can not fail, genius idea to save the future of this country.  It won't be long until we leave our front doors open again, teenagers will stop their underage drinking, boys will stop fighting, drugs will disappear and we'll come together in one big brotherly love fest.  This is the future ladies and gentlemen and all because Dave has worked it out - he must have done, the Sun called his plan genius.  So, what is it?  Send teenagers on national service.  And put £500 in the pocket in the process - not to blow on booze, of course.  Cameron wants to send every 16 year old on a six week jolly where the bone idle will, for some unknown reason, suddenly want to climb three peaks and the book obsessed class swots will suddenly become sport mad jocks. 

Review of the Papers, Wednesday 7 September

A "national service" for the 21st century will be introduced for hundreds of thousands of school leavers under a scheme unveiled yesterday by David Cameron, the Conservative leader. Young people would be paid a grant, understood to be around £500, for taking part in a six-week programme of community work, outdoor pursuits or even military training with the Marines.