All posts by John B

Is Britain really going bankrupt?

No.

Or:

Britain is not Iceland. Iceland is the size of Coventry. Britain is the fifth-largest economy in the world (although it also has the third-largest current account deficit). The pound is still a reserve currency that people want to buy, despite the efforts of the speculators. We are bankrupt only in the sense that we could not pay if all debts were called in right now – which is true of many countries. A falling pound will be good for exports, assuming there is someone to buy them. The UK’s credit rating was reaffirmed last week. The only thing that could push Britain into bankruptcy would be a full-scale panic.

Worse than Nicholas

I really like Mock The Week; it’s one of my favourite TV shows. Frankie Boyle is perhaps the best comic of the last 30 years; Dara O’Briain is hard to spell but excellent; Hugh Dennis was the funniest one in the Mary Whitehouse Experience and remains so; Russell Howard is remarkably entertaining for a small child; and guest panelists ranging from David Mitchell through Rich Hall to Jo Brand add sparkling wit and entertaining excellence.

But Andy Parsons is the most unfunny, dislikeable, tedious wanker ever to have appeared on the television. Why is this thick, irritating eejit allowed anywhere near humans, never mind what would be, apart from his own revolting visage and distressing voice, the best show on television?

Seriously. What the fuck is this man doing being rated by anybody, ever?

If you like Andy Parsons, please say so in the comments. If, more likely, you don’t, then please repost this on your blog if you’re a massive geek, or forward this to your mates if you aren’t. I’m desperate to know who finds him funny, or why the hell he’s on telly if – as I suspect – nobody does.

Yes we can

Hooray for Obama’s America.

I don’t have enormously high hopes that everything will become groovy, excellent, liberal, etc, and I know that the President’s impact on what happens in the states is somewhat limited – but the fact that the Californians have taken a cop who shot a harmless, unarmed civilian, charged said cop with first degree murder, and refused to let him out on bail is still a rather jolly and heartwarming starting point for the new regime.

Now, if David Cameron were to promise to do the same for all UK cops found in the same situation, that might sway my voting plans…

(backing Ian Blair over Jean-Charles de Menezes’ murder was the one thing that made me seriously consider not voting for Ken at the last mayoral elections. Had any candidate explicitly spoken out againts shoot-to-kill-for-suspected-comedians [*], and not had utterly ludicrous policies on everything else [**], I’d’ve voted for them…)

[*] it flatters the incompetent, trivial jokers we’ve had to oh so bravely struggle against in the UK to refer to them as ‘terrorists’. There’s no terror. The guys in Mumbai are terrifying. Ours are idiots who set fire to themselves [***].

[**] in this context, neither Boris’s nor Brian’s policies would’ve been ridiculous enough to deter me.

[***] and I’m slightly embarrassed when Londoners claim July 7 2005 as a serious piece of terrorism. Cock off: New York had its two biggest landmarks destroyed and 3,000 people murdered; we had the same death toll as four hours’ worth of smoking, plus the same disruption as when Metronet mess up the engineering works. Nothing to see here; trivial nonsense; get lost.

That dollar collapse

Excellent-but-unreadable economist Willem Buiter pretty much agrees with me on the inevitable collapse of the dollar – although his timeframe is 2-5 years rather than my best guess of six months to 2 years. This will see the $/£ exchange rate going back to somewhere around 1.65.

The interesting bit will be whether the changing $ value will create a perception of rising energy and commodity prices, or whether everyone will be sensible enough this time round to realise that it’s largely a mirage. The evidence from last time isn’t entirely heartening…

Very brief train post

I try and avoid these, because they’re insanely geektastic.

Nonetheless: a bunch of whining has gone on lately about failures on the trains, in the coldest and iciest week of the last 15 years. For most of today, the M1 was closed, for almost exactly the same reasons. Anyone who slates the former and not the latter is an ignorant moron.

Things break in this country [= England + lowland Scotland] when it’s terrifyingly cold, because it’s very seldom terrifyingly cold, so it’d be stupid to build them to deal with terrifying cold. These things include cars, trains, school boilers, and generally everything non-life-critical.

We can’t defeat the weather, no matter how hard we try. So chill out (haha), and if you live somewhere insanely remote then light a fire, climb into a warm bed, and deal with the fact that you can’t get into the office by car nor train (oh no! disaster! surely you’ll die!)

Update: Andrew Gilligan, the unthinking man’s ignorant moron, thoroughly jumps on the bandwagon.