If you have to ask...

When heads shouldn't roll
Why do we always fire someone when things go wrong? Why not make them stay and sort the mess out?

The buck starts here?

As a clear statement it was as unequivocal as it was welcome...

"The era of the 'something for nothing' culture is over" said the Pensions Minister James Purnell on BBC Breakfast News this morning.

What might have been developed further was what had/has pervaded before until this point, say, for over the last 10 years. And why.

I was also intrigued at his claim that in previous recessions the true numbers were 'hidden'. By whom, again why, or whether indeed this statement was true was something this viewer was not made privy to.

BBC - Benefit claimants 'must do more'

Telegraph - Will Labour deliver on welfare reform this time?


Love the one you're with

A thought-provoking post on a blog about historical claims has prompted me to reply...

A few hundred years back, at Uni, I wrote a piece entitled 'My great, great, great... great Grandad was a Roman comfort boy', and how I was determined to claim compo from Italy for 'hurt' imposed in a convenient part of my history.

The Student Union didn't see the joke, or point, and banned me.

I guess it's tricky to assess a limit for 'modern' times, but reach back far enough and you can claim anything.

As a rule of thumb, I'd say if it's more or less working for the majority population now*, and has done for a fair while, the global community should really not tolerate any minority efforts to upset things* based on selective historical claims, especially when what exists is clearly not going to go back to what 'was'.

It would be interesting to see what exceptions might be suggested to mess up such a 'guide'. Despite distance and the frustration of the main country bodies nearby, I think such as Gibraltar and The Falklands bear this out.

The only one I can think of right now that was contrary to the will of the people was Hong Kong in 1997, but that was just honouring a deal. It also seemed/s to have worked better than most.

The tricky one is when a big country has 'stepped in' recently for less than obvious positive reasons to the locals, such as in Tibet.

*I'd exclude genocide as in large chunks of Africa, as anyway by definition the minority are not usually the ones stirring things up. Hence a vast complication to the naive simplicity of my notion (and an explanation for why the world suffers the turmoils it does) as hands get wrung over intervening or not, and letting nature take its course vs. intervening, with all that entails.

I, for one, am quite pleased the US decided to pop over to assist with the last bit of bother we had with some EU members.

As many of the posters are well-read and thoughtful, I hope to find some considered replies.

I left out Israel, as this can prove too contentious. And Afghanistan/Iraq. But by my definition I think they do meet the criteria. Though quite recent historically, the first is clearly now an established entity with a majority population that is not going anywhere, and in theory the latter two are not 'meant' to be anything more than 'temporary' to try and create 'stability' by 'preventing' unhealthy actions outside their borders.


More from the 'Xceptions but our rules' files

A HIPs for the unwary job seeker

Allows new meaning to giving someone a bit of Jip.

Interesting notion.

Looking at government down, what might interesting is what happens when well aware of the situation but ambitious enough to risk it (ie: most in Cabinet) to being stuck there against your will (ie: anyone in the shrieking 'no constructive dismissal here' sphere of our Small Business Minister.

Yet more, I suspect, from the 'Ah, but that's different' divide between public and private sectors so selectively imposed and policed by the former.


'Practitioner' makes perfect?

Memo to Jon Snow: the Mumbai 'practitioners' were Islamic terrorists

Remind me, which broadcaster (after 'just kidding') is after handouts from whichever entity (Government, EU, you name it) it can sell its soul to or might permit some personal agenda chasing to continue on others dimes?

I must look up the precise definition of 'conflict of interest'

Slap on the wrist... compo!

Baby P social workers retain pay, perks and pensions

I call it the '5p' (power/pay/perks/punditry/pension) gravy train (7 if you add 'partisan protection' in the case of a major ranks closing).

And I don't give a flying fig what happens in the private sector; I am not paying for it. Or, if I am, I'll set about correcting it, with some chance of it happening.

I'm suprised they aren't going for compo due to 'hurt feelings' for this figurative wrist slap.

Gaurdian - Our empty outrage over Baby P As we behead the culprits at Haringey council, do we stop to consider who will replace them?

I rather hope so. And this time ensure they do a competent job.

Failing which, maybe it would be time to look at those who hire the managers.

Rotating, and other spinning moves

Speaker Michael Martin should have been a Tory
The reason was simple. It showed that once an MP became Speaker he was not a creature of party but of Parliament.

Well, Golly. I never knew that.

However, as evidenced by the recently breached 'convention' of not 'talking' down your country's currency (as opposed actively doing everything possible to render it worthless), as a citizen I now live in dread of how more many more of these fusty old traditions will be laid waste to by the new breed of Gov 3.0 Blackberry-toting commissars of the Village with their Useful Idiots in tow.

Maybe time to protect a few of these abilities to either have a contrary view or at least stand proud of petty partisanship... before they get summarily dispatched?

Conflicts of interest

A post about Ch4 being a bit 'pro-Govt', whilst also gunning for a hand-out, has inspired me to articulate some thoughts.

I would wish, but am not holding breath, that some in the news gathering and dissemination filed might give cause to ponder this.

Conflict of interest has always been an area of some sensitivity, and hence interest to me, since way back when and I ran my ad agency.

The merest hint, from a junior AE sharing accounts up to tenuous links between clients' holding groups clashing, was enough to either politely step back or, less politely, get booted.

Being funded (or having such funds doled out), even in a small manner (or to the tune of £3.5B) by those you are reporting upon, seems a pretty clear route - despite any claims to the contrary various 'professionals' may try to trumpet as to their their ability to perform objectively - to being hopelessly compromised in this regard from the off.

So a wee message from this private person, public-sector funding, public broadcast-weary fee payer... 'I don't trust you. And if I don't trust you, what you have to 'share' has no value. And if it has no value I should not have to pay for it.'

And that applies in whatever 'Westminster Useful Village Idiot' form it is attempted to be imposed, now and in the future.

Heart of the matter

President Barroso: the 'people who matter' in Britain are reconsidering the euro

Does that make those of us not blessed in being within 'the circle'... anti matter?


Telegraph - 'Desperate' Gordon Brown eyes the eu

I have decided, by virtue of not having a chat with this chappie, that I must therefore be 'anti-matter'.

Can't quite recall my Star Trek, but I think that when enough is brought in contact with 'matter', the results can be spectacular.

And the relative amounts there might be between Westminster, Brussels, the offices of a few low-circulation 'qualities', and Bush House vs. the rest of the country would suggest the aftermath might be a new order.

Maybe no bad thing.

Newsnight - Before I really crank an eyebrow at this on the back of a few other 'developments'...

'Paul Mason looks at how much worse things could get. And we speak to the French Finance minister about whether it's high time the UK joined the Euro.'

... can any economic experts opine whether this is just normal in the world of money (and reporting of same, for that matter), and hence I am being silly when 'bums rush' springs to mind.

Telegraph -


Led by asses?

'I can't stand him': Clegg overheard attacking team

Well, yes, I can see how these days, with no prior precedent, a politician could easily fail to realise that what you say out loud in a public place may be less secure than might be wished.


We really are getting served the 'A' Teams as options come 2009/10, aren't we?