Friday, June 26, 2009

The King of Pop and the Queen of Reality TV

I can't think of anyone outside of religion and royalty whose death will make a greater impact in the westernised world. Michael Jackson died yesterday at only the age of 50 and it is suspected to be heart failure. The man did absolutely brilliant work and it was only a couple of weeks ago I spent a Saturday afternoon playing hits off his 80's albums.

I can be rest assured that in twenty years time his music will still be well thought of works of art and that memory of him will be based around it rather that any of the controversy that surrounded his later life.

He is survived by all his brothers, his parents and 3 children. And that is where I find true sadness. Someone so lacking in talent like Jade Goody spent the last months of her life providing for her children. MJ enjoyed tremendous earning capacity for 4 decades and yet died in debt. I hope it comes out that he has hidden a large pot for them or at least that the aim of his recently announced tour was to make provisions.

With all the talent and reward in the world he still couldn't spend enough and died far too young. That is a reflection on the age in which he lived.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forgive the Gaps

Members of my very small readership have been commenting (verbally, not in the comments section, obviously) that I'm getting far to political and serious of late. Which I have found odd because I thought I'd always been this way. Still, I started this blog shortly before the 2005 General Election with this post.

If that didn't set the expectation of how this blog was going to operate when the economy finally cracked and a long overdue General Election was in the offing then you may not have been reading long enough.

Trying to steer away from all that and not put up any serious work in an attempt to turn this back into the comedic or occasionally interesting corner of the web has resulted in... well, nothing. Just a large gap in the dates between posts. Can't be said I haven't tried. I knew there's a lot of very personal blubber tucked away in the archives but my days of writing posts as if they were diary entries is past. Whatever I found therapeutic about placing those kind of thoughts into the void of the internet evades me nowadays.

So yes, anyway, posts are liable to be current affairs; politically, economically or otherwise based on my personal policies in the way of land value taxation, the population question and the paradoxical infinite use of finite resources. If my light hearted nature finds its way in there then all the better.

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'Free Banking'

The overdraft fee debacle reaches the House of Lords with the opening gambit that the fees are large because they pay for free banking. Without them, all current accounts will have to be paid for by the owner in the form of cost per transaction or flat monthly/annual fees or some other means of extortionate charge would need to be found.

I can see why the banks are worried. I've been with the same bank for all my adult life as many people have been as it is typically the custom. Because banking is free there isn't a great deal to think about when it comes to being a customer. In some respects you merely get what you pay for. People like me are happy to have the service paid for by the ill-disciplined lot who, god bless them, just don't get their financial act together.*

If I suddenly had to pay for the service then I'd suddenly start expecting service. And my god banks don't want that. They are happy with their customers coming to them via their brand power and have them stick.

Banking currently plays to the irrational human nature of loss avoidance. As it costs nothing, it's laissez-faire. If we were rational then everyone would be at the Halifax where you get £5 or something each month for paying your wages in. But we're not, because the gain is seen as too meagre for the hassle. When you're looking at a loss though, people change completely and do what they can to avoid it.

Reading material: BBC, Telegraph

*For those familiar with my agnostic ways and find the god reference a bit weird, you can thank Ned Flanders for the inspiration behind that sentence.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Electoral System in the UK

There is a lot of conversation going on about the 'rise' of the BNP, as meagre as that is, in the European election.

Because of the low turnout and proportional representation people are coming out with the age old adage of blaming the people who didn't come out to vote. Now these people always forget one simple, indisputable and unfortunate fact of the various systems we have in place. They all ask you to vote for someone.

If no-one gives me something to vote for in particular, above all the rest, then I have no-one to vote for. As happened in the European and local elections. And I'd tick no more for a random political party that wasn't BNP than I'd join a random religion that wasn't Satanic.

If you want me to vote against someone then you need to devise and present an electoral system to do it in a referendum. Then you'll get my vote.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Election Weak

What a week it has been for our governing party. Widespread electoral failures on many levels but lets just pick some highlights:

Lost the 4 remaining councils in England that was under their control. Our central government now controls 0 local governments.

Forced into 3rd place by fringe party UKIP in the European elections.

By having tens of thousands of disillusioned voters abstain and not come to the ballot they have allowed a fascist party to reach the legislature for first time in the nation's history.

Beaten in Scotland by the SNP.
Beaten in Wales by the Conservatives.
Beaten into 5th place in the south of England.

Governing with that level of support is barely credible. Where's the programme? When was the last time we heard about "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", "education, education, education", the NHS or the 10 year transport plan?

We've been very patient with Labour. Beyond that, back in October 2007, Brown told the BBC:
“I’ll not be calling an election and let me explain why. I have a vision for change in Britain. I want to show people how in government we are implementing it. Over the summer months we have had to deal with crises. We have had to deal with foot and mouth, terrorism, floods, the financial crisis. And yes we could have had an election on competence and I hope people would have understood that we have acted competently. “But what I want to do is show people the vision that we have for the future of this country: in housing, health, education. And I want the chance in the next phase of my premiership to develop and show people the policies that will make a huge difference and show the change in the country itself.”
Some vision.

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A Word About UKIP

Whilst I don't think our relationship with Europe is ideal there is one major flaw of the UKIP success in the European election. We now have 13 well taxpayer funded people whose sole purpose is to tell us we shouldn't be in Europe whilst taking our scarce slots on the legislature itself.

If we really want out of Europe then we have to vote UKIP in the general elections so they take up the only position in which they can cut the cord. Voting them into European parliament where they attend and participate as scarcely as allowable is just wasting taxpayer money.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

If the Lib Dems just keep their noses clean...

I don't think the Lib Dems have quite grasped it yet but for the first time in nearly a century they could make a return to top two party politics. They have an ace in the hand in Vince Cable who continually talks sense in a manner which the public find agreeable. Feeding off the disaffection from both Labour and Conservative support is doing their cause plenty of good.

With Gordon Brown clinging to power in dictatorial fashion the Labour party faces being run into the ground come the next general election less than a year away. Labour are also not grasping the seriousness of the situation they face. The damage that they are doing could see them hit the same political peril that faced the Liberals in the 1920's once they hit 3rd in the results.

I would go as far as to say it is almost absolutely vital to the future prosperity of this country that the aforementioned event comes to pass. The vast majority of the population have never known any different from this unhealthy two party system where the Conservative and Labour parties take the baton from the other when they run out of public support or take the country to the wall.

Firstly, the public most know that there can be another order of things. It doesn't matter which of the two main parties are casualty to make that happen. It could have been the Conservatives in 1997. Hell, it could even be the pair of them. Secondly, we must have a party that is willing to adopt land reform. The Lib Dems are the most likely candidates to do so considering their previous incarnation had brought about the 1909 Finance Bill. Finally, we must have a party willing to turn the second House, the House of Lords, into a fully elected and active chamber.

Whilst the Lib Dems may not be the ones that finally bring through the reforms this country direly needs they must continue the progress they've made.

So don't go calling the Cornish nationalist candidate a twat in your literature. Deep in the documentation in the Cornish acquisition it transpires that they have more of a point for nationalisation than the Welsh do.

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