James Freeman Clarke, a now obscure and long dead American theologian and campaigner for the abolition of slavery, came up with perhaps the perfect distinction between a politician and a statesman. In a short and accurate aphorism he stated: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation”. Quite what he would think of David Cameron is anybody`s guess as the old boy has been dead for well over a century.
It is left to us to judge a Prime Minister that is happy to conflate a humanitarian disaster with the rhetoric and action of death by execution without due legal process. We do not require a talking hat to decide when a government has lost any pretence of credibility and any shred of morality or to sort out the distinction between empathy and vindictive self-interest. (more…)
Not 911 via Reuters
There was a time in this sceptred isle when bank managers were considered to be fine, upstanding pillars of society; wise, avuncular, prudent and honest guardians of the fortunes or poverty of society. Sadly, all that has changed and Mr Mainwaring for all his pomposity is long gone and has been replaced by a call centre in Mumbai and a gangster in Canary Wharf.
Consider the actions of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Having been repeatedly found guilty of all manner of criminality, HSBC have announced that they intend to leave this sceptred isle for good because of impertinent investigation of wrongdoing, unacceptable corporation tax and a cruel and unjust banking levy. Along with money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, illegal rate rigging and stashing the cash of dictators and terrorists, we can now add blackmail to the charge sheet. (more…)
I`m not as drink as thinkle peep I am.
There is more to Ed Balls than an inherently funny name and there is much to criticise beyond him forgetting some bloke`s name on a late-night TV interview after a long day and a few glasses of Pinot Gris. Conflating a lapse of memory as evidence of a dastardly political plot to undermine capitalism is on a par with accusing David Cameron of child neglect because he forgot to take his daughter home from the pub after a photo opportunity.
It is absurd to score childish points over simple human mistakes when real failings are being ignored. Cameron is proving to be the most disastrous Prime Minister in history and Balls has only been spared the ignominy of being remembered as the worst Education Secretary ever by having the good fortune to be succeeded by the very strange Michael Gove. Balls current opposite number, almost certainly a half-wit, remains unchallenged on his blatant lies and his unfortunate habit of turning up at the House of Commons apparently off his face on what might, or might not, be a major contributor to the gross national product of both Peru and Colombia. Still, at least George Osborne can remember the names of Tory donors by adding “Sir” or “Lord”. (more…)
On the face of it and with delightful incongruity, the early lives of the late Jeremy Thorpe and the even later Peter Cook are remarkably similar.
Cook was born in Devon and as a son of a colonial diplomat “enjoyed” a public school education at Radley College and then Pembroke, Cambridge. Apart from joining the footlights revue, he also joined the Cambridge University Liberal Club. Thorpe was born 18 years earlier and as a son of a Tory MP, “enjoyed” a public school education at Eton and then Trinity, Oxford where he read law and later still became the Liberal MP for North Devon. Here the similarities begin to diverge. Cook opened the Establishment Club in Soho and Thorpe embraced the other establishment as the leader of the Liberal Party. With one of them making a living out of political satire and the other making a living out of political expedience, both men were probably fully aware of what Cyril Smith was up to. (more…)
David Mellor image via bbc.co.uk
You get what you pay for and an essential taxi ride from Buckingham Palace to a humble pied-a-terre in St Katharine`s Dock might be expensive but is considerably less life threatening than attempting the same journey using a bicycle.
David Mellor is clearly a victim of misrepresentation and the target of a vicious social media plot hatched by a tiny number of left-wing bullies. He deserves our sympathy because, as a failed cabinet minister voted out of Putney in 1997, he has endured years of not being allowed a ministerial car, the absence of expenses claims and the unfortunate medical condition that seems to be inexorably turning his appearance into that of Ken Dodd. (more…)