All posts by John B

Old Crow from the archives

I think pretty much everything in my RMT piece from last summer still applies today.

Note in particular: 1) Low turnout and non-spectacular majority indicating this is a Crow effort not grassroots; 2) Tories using the RMT’s intransigence to lobby for (even) more draconian public sector anti-strike rules; 3) DLR, Thameslink, Overground are all working (as would be ELL, extended Thameslink and Crossrail, if they were built yet); 4) absolutely no support from Aslef and TSSA, leaving many Tube lines running too; 5) reports of RMT drivers blacklegging.

Isn’t this just obvious to everyone?

Clive has a good piece up on CiF on the way that internationally, David Cameron is going to be perceived as the UK’s George W Bush, both for his buffoonery and his disdain for international agreements.

Being a CiF thread, the comments spiralled into Europhobic lunacy. However, responding to a silly-ish question there did give me the opportunity to articulate both my support for the EU in principle, and my opposition to an English parliament, more coherently than I’ve managed before:

In practice, some things work better at the level of 500m people, some things work better at the level of 50m people, some better at the level of 5m people, some at the level of 500k people, and so on down the chain.

Hence, there’s a role for the EU, the UK, the UK regions, district councils, and parish councils. At the moment, outside of Wales, NI and Scotland, everything is far too centralised at the second level (which is why an English parliament would be a waste of time – what we need are seven English parliaments, each with the power of the Welsh Assembly at least, representing a manageable number of people), with too little power delegated to regions, districts and parishes.

I’m struggling to see how anyone could sensibly disagree with that. Yes, “the EU is corrupt so we shouldn’t be in it” is a valid argument for all I disagree, but isn’t the claim the UKIP/English Democrat types are making – that the optimal area of government for us happens to correlate directly with the outcomes of a few battles between 1000 and 300 years ago – just utterly insane?

Nobody who gets anything wrong should ever be allowed to do anything again

Let’s assume you’re an excellent journalist (yes, I know for most bloggers this would be a bit of a heroic assumption, but never mind). You spend 15 years working your way up through various jobs until you’re editor of a national title. You do the job very well.

Then the chairman of the large media company that owns your title offers you a job as head of finance. You take it on; you fail to spot the risks in the strategy your predecessor was running and so continue with it; the company gets run into the ground; and you’re rightly fired.

In a reasonable and sane world, should you:
a) apply for editor jobs, and be taken seriously as a candidate because you’ve a strong proven track record in editorial, and the fact that you messed up corporate finance isn’t at all relevant
b) never be allowed to work again, save perhaps as a cub reporter or a night sub?

The sane answer is a, right? So why the hell is there such a fuss about Andy Hornby, who was an extremely good manager at Asda and running HBOS’s retail division, but didn’t understand the systemic risk of reduced liquidity or the lack of controls in HBOS’s corporate banking department, being hired to run retailer Alliance Boots…? He’s a good candidate for the job.

(more generally, I don’t get the public’s general anger against bankers, politicians, etc. Yes, they messed up. You messed up. We all mess up. We’re people, it’s what we do. The bankers didn’t kill anyone, they just cost us a bit of money. It’s only money. Nobody in the UK will ever have to starve on the streets, so the money doesn’t really matter, beyond ‘it’d be nice to have a new car this year’. So stop being such pathetic childish bitter twats about it…)

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-07

  • UKIP aren’t just comedy loons, they’re lying bigots: #ukiparetwats #
  • Green Party in ‘don’t understand decentralised decision-making or economics; are hacks’ shock: #
  • Eric Moody may be an ex-BA captain, but he’s also a disgraceful rentaquote hack: #
  • CNN were reading off messageboard posts from an unmoderated aeroplane fans’ forum last night as expert commentary on AF447 #
  • …so @themanwhofell on right track with ‘TWITTERNEWS’, TV with unsubstantiated news snippets broadcast by admin clerks in NW11 #twitternews #
  • Heh: RT @qwghlm Yeah I’m also watching my DVDs of LOST tonight for full poor taste experience #
  • RT @qwghlm Since voting for a minor party is our best hope of keeping out the BNP, I’m seriously considering voting Labour tomorrow #
  • Good night. Strange night. Suppose that’s how it goes… #
  • Haha, survivalism at its best RT @widnblog Chinese billionaires build Noah’s Ark to tide over recession #
  • RT @twentymajor When will celebrities learn that strangley wanks are best avoided? Or at least have someone do the strangling for you. #
  • RT @ironmanrecords good to see BNP candidates get extra use out of suits they normally just use for court appearances #theBNParetwats #
  • 92% of London Daily News readers in ‘are paranoid idiots’ shock: #
  • Why are ballot papers in alphabetical order anyway? Surely they should be randomised…? #
  • & yup, just voted. Decided that ‘not corrupt’ and ‘not evil’ trumped ‘sensible about medical science’, for an EU seat at least #
  • Can’t believe people still care about this shit. It’s even more tedious and dated than Westminster politics #bb10 #
  • YES, THIS! RT @emeraldbile How tedious – all those Labour chavs who diddled the pin money are leaving or something. Yawny yawny cunt cunt. #
  • Water ‘wet’: #
  • For anyone who voted BNP on Thursday, this:
    #thebnparetwats #
  • If you liked Happy Tree Friends, this: #
  • Do not click this link. NSFW, or indeed anywhere else: #
  • Every ninth person in Leicester is a cunt RT @tipexxed 26,279 people in Leics voted BNP, 12% of those who voted. One in every 8.5 people. #
  • The ignorant bastards commenting on this excellent article should all be hanged: #
  • I’m not, in general, a fan of Tory politicians, but Mary Scanlon MSP is t3h excellents: #

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The uniforms were also pretty

Quote of the day:

I’m not sure I can vote UKIP: rather like voting for Hitler because you like his re-armament policies and hope that the bit about the Jews was mostly for show..

Starting a single-issue party that’s obsessively dedicated to ending a flawed-but-democratically-elected transnational institution’s influence over what happens in your country by no means proves or entails that you’re a xenophobe. And the fact that there’s smoke pouring out of your dashboard by no means proves or entails that your car’s on fire.

Oh, and out of fairness and accuracy I should also point out that Green healthcare policy is mental-bordering-on-evil. I can see the point of voting for either party if you’ve given up on everyone else on the right/left, but do so while being very aware that if either were elected now, they’d be significantly worse than any of the big games in town.