Friday, 31 December 2010

Dave from PR spins into 2011

According to David Cameron's new year sound bite, the government's spending cuts are an unavoidable result of unprecedented debt levels and not at all ideological. We've heard this one several times before - every Public Relations Professional knows the value of repetition.

It is, of course, a bit more complicated than that. If Dave from PR can repeat himself, then so can I. As previously noted, courtesy of the Left Foot Forward blog, when adjusted for inflation, the current level of public debt isn't unprecedented. In fact it's far lower than it was in the late 1940s; a time of austerity, sure, but also a time when the welfare state was being created. Hacking great chunks out of it now isn't inevitable - it's simply what the small-state ideologues on the right want to do.

By its very nature, selective PR spin abhors context, so here's some more context:

The National Debt was made possible shortly after the Glorious Revolution, when William III arranged to sell debt securities through a syndicate of London merchants. The syndicate became the Bank of England, and the securities founded the National Debt.

The introduction to Three Centuries of the National Debt, which includes some interesting charts giving a historical overview of the National Debt. Chart 1 appears, on first sight, to support the Tory spin

And here I want to say something to the people who got us into this mess. The ones who racked up more debt in thirteen years than previous governments did in three centuries.

Chart 1 seems to graphically support that assertion (although it only deals with the last 110 years) with debt crawling along the bottom of the graph for the first half of the century, ramping up in the '80s and '90s before skyrocketing up to dizzying heights in the late '90s and the noughties, or whatever we call the decade we're just leaving behind.

Chart 1, however, is just showing the debt in pounds sterling. The next two charts show debt as a percentage of gross domestic product. Adjusted to a meaningful context, the "unprecedented" level of debt becomes a relatively modest peak in an alpine range of debt spikes. Whether we're looking at the last century or the last three, we can see that we've been here before - and worse - and that the National Debt has tailed off and been managed down over decades, following bigger spikes than this. The last chart, showing interest payments shows a similar picture - taking the long view, the present levels of debt interest payments break no records:

The real risk from government debt is the burden of interest payments. Experts say that when interest payments reach about 12% of GDP then a government will likely default on its debt. Chart 5 shows that the UK is a long way from that risk. The peak period for government interest payments, including central government and local authorities, was in the 1920s and 1930s right after World War I.

The cuts are a choice, not a necessity. This government is starting to remind me of the bankers who got us into this mess in the first place. In Mark Twain's famous words:

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

By cutting public sector jobs and public services when they're most needed, Cameron and his millionaire chums are leaving us all out in the rain. It's kind of appropriate that the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt recently became the unofficial Minister for Rhyming Slang, just when there's no longer any doubt what a bunch of bankers we've got running the country.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Unconditional surrender

So that was Christmas, 2010. Despite the "War on Christmas" stories filling the media, everybody I know gave and received Christmas cards. Nearly everybody I know sent or received Christmas presents of some sort, even in this time of austerity and looming unemployment for many. Barclays Bank estimated that the British public will have spent £48.8 billion in the run up to Christmas.

The Queen's Christmas message went out as normal, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury’s. The Pope delivered a Christmas Message in the Thought for the Day slot on Radio 4’s Today programme. Every remotely popular television programme had its own Christmas special. Kings College’s festival of nine lessons and carols was broadcast as usual. Up and down the nation, churchgoers were freely able attend carol services and go to midnight mass without being threatened or hindered in any way. Children scoffed chocolates from advent calendars and took part in nativity plays. Homes and workplaces were festooned with tinsel and the houses in some streets were decked with so many flashing snowmen and Santas that they outshone Heathrow's snowbound runways 

If there's been a War on Christmas in the UK, then the anti-Christmas forces have fought half-heartedly and lost decisively. Let's face it, it's over. It's time for the volunteers of the Politically Correct Brigades to accept the inevitable and surrender. Ever since the ignominious collapse of the Winterval campaign, when it emerged that their much-vaunted offensive never actually took place, it was clear that this war wouldn't be over by Christmas and that the anti-Christmas faction has been comprehensively defeated by the massed forces of the Baby Jesus. Christmas has won. Further conflict would only be a tragic waste.

I therefore beg the Politically Correct Brigades to bring this unwinnable, seemingly endless war of attrition to an end by offering their immediate, unconditional surrender to the Archbishop of Canterbury, or Santa Claus and his little elves.

When we've ended this madness, we can all move on. The nation can go on to celebrate the peace with joyful thanksgiving bonfires and we can all come together in the shared warmth from the burning effigies of Oliver Cromwell, Richard Dawkins and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. And newspaper commentators will finally have to find a real story to have an opinion about.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Party games

 'Tis, apparently, the season to be jolly. Here's a hilarious party game you can all play at home. It's called Uxbridge English Dictionary. Listeners to Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue will know how it works. For the rest of you, it's a game that involves coming up with new definitions for words. For example:
auto de fé - the Popemobile

goblet - small mouth

incontinent - not on an island

portent - shoddy piece of camping equipment

roulade - kangaroo fat (essential Australian cookery ingredient)

retard - very hard, in Yorkshire

tensile - Ireland, after the credit crunch

And for a masterclass in Uxbridge English Dictionary, I can do no better than to direct your attention to a classic recording of the game, featuring the late, great Humphrey Lyttelton and, as an added bonus, the late, great, Linda Smith.

What fun.

Hat tip to Tom Freeman.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Political maturity...

... in our democracy apparently consists of knowing who you can and can't disrespect with impunity. Here's short guide for the perplexed (this means you, Vince):

1) The people who voted for you and the British public in general

Tell them what they want to hear at election time, then once you get into power you can do the precise opposite - just tell them that your promise wasn't a promise and anyway, it had to be broken for complicated reasons that they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about. They're probably too busy watching Strictly to notice what you just did anyway, and they'll have forgotten all about it come the next election. Little people, not worth worrying about.

2) Colossal trans-national  media mega-corporations with very deep pockets

Don't mess with The Man

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Eat the rich

There's a well known story about the  famously eccentric Dr William Buckland that probably never really happened, but I so want it to be true:

Talk of strange relics led to mention of the heart of a French King [Louis XVI] preserved at Nuneham in a silver casket. Dr. Buckland, whilst looking at it, exclaimed, 'I have eaten many strange things, but have never eaten the heart of a king before,' and, before anyone could hinder him, he had gobbled it up, and the precious relic was lost for ever.

This was brought to mind by the news that researchers in France recently identified what they think is the head of France's King Henry IV. I was hoping that Henry's head would go on to feature in a William Buckland-themed Heston Blumental Christmas special, perhaps stuffed with an orange, flambéed in Cointreau, then served up to an admiring gaggle of celebrities, preferably including Terry Wogan. The French, sadly, prefer to hold a national Mass and funeral for the head, before reburying it in the Basilica of Saint Denis. What a wasted opportunity.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Something for the weak end?

I was deleting some spam the other day, when I came across something a bit retro. Some obscure on-line pill vendor was touting allegedly genuine Viagra in an e-mail with the subject line "for the holidays you need it!" I was amused by the quaintly comic notion that people who are getting it together have scheduled a specific time slot, in the same way you'd plan your shopping to accommodate Sunday lunch, or your great aunt would let her hair down and open that sherry bottle at the back of the cupboard, but only at Christmas.* I'm guessing that such regularity of habit is very much the exception and most people just go for it at those random moments when mood and opportunity coincide.

In the less explicit days of my youth, I'm told that men's barbers used to ask customers whether sir needed "something for the weekend?" which was apparently a discreet way of enquiring whether "sir" wanted to buy some condoms. I was never asked whether I needed anything for the weekend, so maybe this form of words was already dying out when I was young, or perhaps the phrase was just an apocryphal popular cliché that nobody said for real. Or maybe they just took one look at me and decided I clearly wasn't having sex with anybody (to be fair, they were probably right for quite a lot of the time).

It's interesting to witness the recalibration of the British embarrassment threshold over the years, from the days when buying a condom was an oblique and furtive matter (which it surely was, whether or not anybody used the exact phrase "something for the weekend"), to a world where unembarrassed teenagers routinely share their sexploits with their mates by text and with a few hundred on-line "friends" via Facebook. Although the threshold has been re-set, embarrassment hasn't been abolished completely, otherwise people's e-mails wouldn't be clogged with spam advertising bogus Viagra and the like to be purchased in the privacy of your own computer, a market that only exists because openness about potency problems is clearly a step too far for many men.

For the consumer, there's danger in embarrassment and furtiveness - nearly all the libido-boosting money-spinners on sale on the net are probably at best ineffective and at worst harmful, but if you're too embarrassed to see your GP and your knock-off little blue pill doesn't deliver, who you gonna call? Probably no-one, which is why they get away with it.

The embarrassment threshold may have changed, but people are still probably much the same. When young men were being asked whether they needed anything for the weekend, I'll bet there were quite a few who bought rubber goods with no expectation that they'd be needed that weekend, or on any weekend in the foreseeable future, just to avoid admitting to the barber that they weren't getting any. Although the baseline of sexual activity is undoubtedly higher, I also expect that a proportion of the 21st Century bedroom antics being texted and Facebooked to all and sundry are face-saving fictions, produced by over-heated competitive, young - mainly male - imaginations. Boys will still be boys.

*See the opening of Lawrence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:

As a small specimen of this extreme exactness of his, to which he was in truth a slave, he had made it a rule for many years of his life,--on the first Sunday-night of every month throughout the whole year,--as certain as ever the Sunday-night came,--to wind up a large house-clock, which we had standing on the back-stairs head, with his own hands:--And being somewhere between fifty and sixty years of age at the time I have been speaking of,--he had likewise gradually brought some other little family concernments to the same period, in order, as he would often say to my uncle Toby, to get them all out of the way at one time, and be no more plagued and pestered with them the rest of the month.

or for that matter Ivor Cutler's monologues - I can't remember the exact quote, but I'm sure that one of them started 'it was a Thursday, which was our night for sex'.

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre

Britain's students have certainly put the trade union movement on the spot. Their mass protests against the tuition fees increase have refreshed the political parts a hundred debates, conferences and resolutions could not reach.

We know the vast rise in tuition fees is only the down payment on the Con-Dem package of cuts, charges and job losses to make us pay for the bankers' crisis. The magnificent students' movement urgently needs to find a wider echo if the government is to be stopped.

(Len McCluskey in The Guardian).

As retail outlets across the country tidy up in the aftermath of yesterday's protests, the corporate world has been caught flat-footed. Business leaders have been surprised by the sudden uprising and are struggling to find a coherent voice. Sir Philip Green, the normally outspoken boss of Topshop, at the centre of the protests, was not prepared to talk publicly. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which boasts of being "the voice of business", was surprisingly mute, with none of its current leaders willing to speak on the campaigns by UK Uncut, trade unions and charities.
From another Guardian article headlined "Big business goes on the defensive as tax protesters win the propaganda war".

There are clearly a lot of angry, organised, focused people out there who aren't just going to stand passively by as a cabinet of millionaires wreck what's left of British society just so that the City boys can nationalise their losses without having to endure significant reform or even mild inconvenience.

What a pity Ed Milliband isn't one of them. It would be a step in the right direction if he could find a window in his Filofax for taking a stand.

"I was quite tempted to go out and talk to them [protesters]," he said. "I applaud young people who peacefully demonstrate. I said I was going to talk to them at some point, I was tempted to go out and talk to them." Asked why he had not, he explained: "I think I was doing something else at the time, actually."

From that BBC interview with Ed Milliband last month, when he conspicuously failed to take charge. He really needs to do a lot better, and quickly, or we're all stuffed.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Peter, Groucho and Zaphod

The House of Lords is an undemocratic anachronism that the British establishment loves, because it's a legal way of handing out favours to cronies in a country where more overt corruption is frowned on. The fact that some people are ennobled thanks to their own real merit doesn't alter the fact that the honours system is corrupted by the unworthy bums of party donors, party yes-men and pliant Whitehall mandarins cluttering up the red leather benches.*

That's easy to say if you're still young and idealistic, or if you're older and just don't have a snowball in hell's chance of getting a peerage (whether - like most of us - you never did anything to deserve it and/or you never scratched the right backs). For somebody who's actually achieved something worthwhile to turn down the offer of a peerage, after a lifetime of hard work, effort and sacrifice must be much, much harder. So I'm impressed by Peter Tatchell who has - apparently - been offered a peerage and turned it down:

With the New Year’s honours list looming – and Bruce Forsyth, perhaps, hoping against hope that he might yet get a look-in – one maverick has had no hesitation in turning down a gong.
Arise – or maybe not – Peter Tatchell, the campaigner who has taken principled stands on many issues over the years, not least homosexual rights.

Tatchell, is reluctant to comment, but does not deny that he has been offered a peerage. Mandrake understands that, over the past five years, Tatchell has been sounded out about various other honours, too, but has declined them all because he does not approve of them. 

Like Groucho Marx, who famously refused to belong to any club that would accept him as a member, Peter Tatchell has class. When Douglas Adams, gave his unprincipled narcissist of a character, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the (ceremonial) job of Galactic President in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, he dryly noted that:

It is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

That sums up why the sort of person who'd do favours for a big cheese in the hope of a peerage shouldn't be anywhere near the levers of power and, conversely, why we need more people like Peter Tatchell.

Peter Tatchell's latest campaign is Equal Love, a 'legal bid to overturn the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships in the United Kingdom'. It would make the people affected very happy and wouldn't cost the rest of us a penny - what's not to like? The usual killjoys will probably start whining from  press and pulpit  about how terrible it is that they can't stop a group of people from doing something that makes them happy and harms nobody else, but I can't see anything approaching a good reason not to support this campaign. My best wishes go out to Equal Love, and to the (literally) peerless Mr Tatchell.

Hat tip to Harry's Place.

*the Bishops don't deserve to be there either, but that's a separate issue

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The majesty of the law

A crown court judge stormed out of Carlisle magistrates' court yesterday after being convicted of failing to keep her German shepherd dog under control.

Judge Beatrice Bolton's dog attacked Frederick Becker, a university student from Newcastle, when he was sunbathing on the lawn of his parents' home and tore through his trousers.

Ms Bolton was fined £2,500 and, after denying a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act, called the decision "a f***ing travesty" before shouting "I'll never set foot in a court again".

The 57-year-old, who was described as "the neighbour from hell" by the parents of the victim, later apologised for her behaviour and said she will appeal against her conviction.

Reproduced in full from The Independent. This blogger deems further comment unnecessary.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Libertarians v. pampered wasters

This morning, BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme featured a couple of talking heads discussing the recent student tuition fee protests. In the blue corner was a "Liberatarian Conservative" commentator by the name of James Delingpole, who gave us all this small piece of his mind:

I think they probably need to grow up a bit, I mean, you know the problem with kids that age is that their frontal lobes haven't formed properly and they're not really capable of behaving rationally like grown-ups.

He continued, in the same plain-speaking, no-nonsense vein :

This has nothing to do with bankers. This has to do with the very simple fact that the country is £4.8 trillion in debt ... we cannot afford to subsidise wasters to spend three years doing windsurfing, dubstep and X-Factor studies...

Interesting, forthright opinions. I was sure I'd come across this straight-talking scourge of useless wasters somewhere before. It took me a little while to remember exactly where I'd previously encountered Mr Delingpole and his performing opinions, then I remembered that he'd been on the telly a long while back. There was a programme about the upper classes on Channel 4, featuring Deligpole attempting, with various levels of success, to ingratiate himself with a succession of condescending toffs. My memories of the programme are hazy, but the dominant impressions that stayed with me were that:

a) the toffs came across as a bunch of arrogant, self-indulgent wastrels who clearly thought Delingpole their social inferior


b) half of the programme seemed to consist of Delingpole gushing to camera about his moonstruck infatuation with this bunch of condescending, pampered nonentities, the other half was a record of his undignified attempts to gain their acceptance, despite the fact that they would no more consider treating him as an equal than they would an over-affectionate spaniel puppy

My own memories of this rather cringe-worthy piece of TV have grown dim, so I'm grateful to Skipper for this lively review, written at the time:

Which left the upper classes and Mr James Dellingpole [sic], allegedly a journalist. He had been to Oxford and admired the upper classes enormously but had failed to break into their closed circle, something which had clearly upset him. Like Evelyn Waugh he seemed to have a huge crush on toffs, the more blue blooded the better. He desperately admired their 'backbone, spunk and honour'. So he forayed forth into a Mayfair party, Channel 4 cameras at his back, and tried to elicit comment from the various aristos who stalked the event like elusive rare fauna. He did manage to corner the odd startled specimen. Earl Spencer and Prince Michael both snubbed him awfully but did it so politely he seemed not too dismayed. His problem was that: he was poorly dressed -more M and S than Saville Row; his voice also signalled clearly he was not of their tribe; and, just maybe,(though this is no more than conjecture as I have no idea of Mr Dellingpole's ethnic provenance) his appearance might have sparked off negative reactions in a notoriously anti-semitic social grouping. In other words, they saw him as an awful oik who was trying to crash their exclusivity. His approach was too crude and transparent. They were bound to see him off the premises. But was he dismayed? Any sensible person would have been and given up at that point. But he wasn't and, luckily for him, things improved a bit after this disastrous start.

He decided to try the Cresta Run in St Moritz where, I was amazed to discover, a closed group of aristos have risked life and limb since the last century. This was where the film became not no much sociology as social anthropology. The toffs wore plus four tweeds to ride their bob sleighs. One explained: 'This form of dress worked OK when we started and so, on that basis, we haven't changed it.' Seems like that statement sums up the attitude of the British aristocracy and provides their epitaph at the same time. James declared he would try the Run, whatever the dire dangers to various parts of his body. Visibly scared, he survived and, generally, was treated with a modicum of respect by the toffs. Next came living in the fast lane. For this he shacked up with Channel 4 favourite, Charlie Brockett of jungle fame. Charlie, a convicted felon of course, proved too nice a guy to be anything other than charming and James was allowed to drive a Ferrari as well as exchange good natured banter with the fraudster peer. But I suspected throughout that James secretly wanted to be stepped on, to be humiliated rather than merely humoured.

But the real object of James's dreams, it seemed, was to ride to hounds. This he arranged to do with the Cotswold Hunt and, with great commitment and assiduity learned how to ride. He eventually issued forth with the 'unspeakable' though never quite made contact with the 'uneatable'. But he survived again and, though condescended to by all he met, was not treated too badly. He concluded his gallop around Burke's peerage with a wistful soliloquy on the wonders of this vanishing breed, regretting the loss of this selfless group of noble spirits, warning that we'd miss them once they had gone.

I have seldom seen such a witless programme on such a key topic. Instead of analysis and insight we got a pathetic prostration of a yearning apparently self- loathing inadequate before a collection of parasitic, selfish, useless people with whom the French revolutionaries better knew how to deal.

Now, Mr Delingpole, what were you saying about pampered wasters? Tearing into students on the radio this morning, he wore the mask of a modern hard-nosed no-nonsense meritocrat, but behind the mask cowers an old-fashioned, socially insecure, class-obsessed snob, straight out of the pages of William Makepeace Thackeray. I think we'll see a lot more like him coming out of the woodwork to applaud the impeccably wealthy and well-bred Mr Cameron's Great Leap Backwards to a golden age before the welfare state, when the lower orders knew their place and the wealthy preached to the "undeserving poor" on the virtues of thrift and industry.

I understand that James Delingpole also gets paid for writing down his opinions in the Telegraph, He has some partiualrly strong opinions on the complicated subject of man-made global warming (he doesn't believe in it). His degree, by the way, was in English Literature, which means he's perfectly entitled to his opinion, but no better qualified to pronounce on the subject than a graduate in wind surfing studies.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

May the Spirit of Christmas be with you

Christmas can be moderately jolly, but it's best not to take it too seriously...
Jon Knudsen, the pastor of the Løkken Free Church in the Jutland town of Vendsyssel, loves Christmas, but he hates elves.

This weekend, Knudsen’s hatred for the creature he says “comes from the devil” manifested itself in the form of a mock execution by hanging of a Christmas elf outside his church...

One offended resident took action Monday afternoon while no one was watching, however, and pulled down the elf. He left a message with the pastor that the elf was being “kept safe until after the New Year”.

Knudsen reported the theft to the police, and the culprit confessed. The police, however, refused to press charges, stating that their “caseload was too heavy to make investigating theft of a stuffed toy elf a priority”.

I think I'll just offer you this heart-warming tale without further comment. Via

Public service announcement

I've just had an e-mail forwarded to me by a person who (IMHO) is pretty intelligent and well-meaning. It purported to alert people to an alleged scam involving unscrupulous cashiers adding unauthorised cash-back requests to card sales and pocketing the cash from customers who hadn't checked their receipts. The style of the message made me suspicious, so I spent a minute (literally a minute) googling it before discovering that the "warning" was a hoax.

These sort of hoax chain messages have a generic, easily-recognisable style - THE USE OF CAPITALS (generally in the message and the subject line), multiple exclamation marks and an urgent plea to 'pass this on to your friends / family / loved ones'. It always surprises me that even quite bright people do forward them - I'm guessing that the appeal to the welfare of your loved ones, combined with a lack of time for fact checking  is what triggers otherwise rational people to hit the "send" button and propagate the hoax.

I know nothing about the sort of people who start these rumours and don't know whether there's any motivation beyond the rather odd satisfaction of having created an inaccurate meme and watching it replicate. But I'd like to make a small plea to anybody reading this who receives a warning e-mail with lots of caps and exclamation marks, warning about some scam or danger to which you can alert your friends and family by forwarding the warning to everyone in your address book. If it looks like a hoax, it probably is, so please don't spread it. If you still think it might conceivably be true, it's probably serious enough to be worth a couple of minutes of your own time, spent either googling, or going straight to a site like Hoax-Slayer, before clogging up the in-boxes of your friends, family and colleagues.

Together, one e-mail at a time, we could create a world with a just little more head space for thinking about what's real and important, rather than fretting about unreal threats, or cursing the rising tide of disinformation.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wikileaks revelation: WMD found in Iraq

Well, that's what you'd think from this headline in

Wikileaks: WMD program existed in Iraq prior to US invasion

The article, though, over-promises and completely fails to deliver. No Ernst Stavro Blofeld-style facilities for producing super-weapons that could hold the world to ransom. Just 'containers of liquid sulfur mustard which have been used since World War I' a 'house with a chemical lab' and '155mm rounds filled with an unknown liquid ... several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance ... the rounds tested positive for mustard [gas]'.

It's horrible stuff, as Wilfred Owen and the survivors of the Halabja massacre have testified, but these aren't the sort of weapons that would have been dangerous to the West, or even to Israel (which identified a far more credible potential WMD threat back in the early 1980s and eliminated it by destroying Iraq's Osirak Nuclear Reactor).

The article isn't interesting for drawing attention to any actual buried treasure in the Wikileaks material, but it is moderately interesting to see a new and creative type of spin being put on this stuff. Like Alex Salmond's 'diplomatic tittle tattle' remark and the calls from Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin to have the leaker killed and Assange 'hunted down', the article says rather more about the messanger than it does about the material that's been released.

It's probably just an unhappy coincidence that the author, Jim Kouri, is styled a "Public Safety Examiner", a rather sinister job title that puts me in mind of  the Committee of Public Safety, responsible for centralising denunciations, trials, and executions during the Reign of Terror. I'm guessing, though, that his core competencies are more to do with scaring the public witless about a relatively small terrorist threat, given that the Huckabees and Palins of the world can be relied upon to do the denunciations, along with calls for trials and executions.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Frozen veg

First, he good news. We finally have some tiny florets of fractal broccoli - and I've got the pictures to prove it. The bad news - like the rest of the country, we've been getting severe frosts. I don't know how hardy Romanesco broccoli is, but I think we're about to find out.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Keep calm and carry on

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. This cartoon contains more sense than your average tabloid.

In the year 2025

That zealous convert to the joy of debt, Mystic Nick, has been peering into his crystal ball and knows what we'll all be thinking in the 2020s:

I believe in this policy. I really think we will look back in 10 or 15 years' time and think, actually that was quite a brave and bold and socially progressive thing to do.

Since we're in the prediction business, here's my version of what we'll be thinking a decade or so hence:

Remind me - who were the Liberal Democrats?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

One-liner of of the week

The Cognitive Dissonance Society, formerly known as the Lib Dems...

I wish I'd said that.

You will, Oscar, you will...