Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gone by June - Polly On Board

My Brown gone by June prediction is going down to the wire. Now Polly has specified a date - June 5th - and backs nice Alan Johnson to lead Labour to a more graceful defeat than would be possible under Swooping Gordon the Gurner. Polly's argument is from reason, mine from my deep connection with the underlying Way of Things. She is Athens, I am Jerusalem. This morning Brown will see that, together, we are irresistible.


  1. “On December 16, 1916, having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsaritsa had made him a far-too-dangerous threat to the empire, a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich apparently lured Rasputin to the Yusupovs’ Moika Palace, where they served him cakes and red wine laced with a massive amount of cyanide. According to legend, Rasputin was unaffected, although Vasily Maklakov had supplied enough poison to kill five men.

    Determined to finish the job, Yusupov became anxious about the possibility that Rasputin might live until the morning, which would leave the conspirators with no time to conceal his body. Yusupov ran upstairs to consult the others and then came back down to shoot Rasputin through the back with a revolver. Rasputin fell, and the company left the palace for a while. Yusupov, who had left without a coat, decided to return to grab one, and, while at the palace, he went to check up on the body. Suddenly, Rasputin opened his eyes and lunged at Prince Yusupov. When he grabbed Prince Yusupov he ominously whispered in Yusupovs ear “you bad boy” and attempted to strangle him. As he made his bid to kill Yusupov, however, the other conspirators arrived and fired at him. After being hit three times in the back, Rasputin fell once more. As they neared his body, the party found that, remarkably, he was still alive, struggling to get up. They clubbed him into submission and, after wrapping his body in a sheet, threw him into an icy river, and he finally met his end there — as had both his siblings before him.

    Three days later, the body of Rasputin, poisoned, shot four times and badly beaten, was recovered from the Neva River. An autopsy established that the cause of death was drowning, due to the presence of water in his lungs. His arms were found in an upright position, as if he had tried to claw his way out from under the ice.”

    Wikipedia Entry on the Murder of Rasputin.

    Bryan, You and Polly are going to have to go as far as the Russian aristocracy -- probably further -- if you want to prise Brown's creaking fingers from the Downing Street door knob.

  2. Does 'by June' include all of June, or is 31 May your last chance?

  3. I prefer the Boney M version, Nick.

    By the way, did anybody see Stephen Fry's hissy fit on Newsnight, telling us we were all bourgeois hypocrites and that we've all fiddled our expenses at one time or another? Quite remarkable. I remember him bigging up Tony 'whiter than white' Blair in the late 90's.

    I may have overdone my mileage on one or two expense claims over the years, but I'ver claimed for having my moat cleaned. Wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred expenses, indeed.

  4. I didn't see Fry hissyfitting it up, but I can imagine his point.

    The system was obviously rotten. The humans taking advantage of it are just humans. As Bryan puts it... we're Fallen.

    This expenses scandal does seem to have cured swine flu though, so some good has come of it.

  5. I wonder what Sarah Brown thinks about her husband's plight? She might be thought to have some influence and an opinion. No one ever mentions her.

    As for the rest of the whole sorry-ass situation, not one constituency association of any party has announced the deselection of the sitting MP - or not yet, anyway - so one has to conclude that party members are happy enough with the Westminster greedfest. Imho, this is as much a crisis of our party system as it is about individuals making the rest of us pay for having their moat cleaned or their lightbulbs changed.

    I hope Bryan is right and that Broon goes by the end of June, but that's because I think it would be better for our country. All the articles I've seen so far only consider his future in terms of what would be better for the Labour Party. That's another problem, to an outsider anyway - the close and friendly links between politics and the media. I'd hoped that journos were there to give these Don Politicos a very hard time. Instead, many of them are so parti pris they give the impression of wanting a moat-cleaning allowance as well. The voter as butler and houseboy: discuss.

  6. About 4 years ago, I was inivited down to London to speak to a quango (that was part of the Department for Work and Pensions). The quango members were interested in hearing evidence from small businesses, hence my presence. I was given a first class Virgin rail ticket (costing soemthing like £350) and put up overnight in a London Radisson hotel.

    After addressing the comittee, we had a very pleasant drinks - champagne, wine, vol-au-vents, then dinner. The Director of the quango was driven away in a chaffeur driven limo with her banker chums. Very elegant. She had close links with the then Chancellor (now PM) Brown. I thought it was all a bit odd - a Labour administration, paying over the odds for a train ticket, living a Marie Antoinette existence while appearing to be very socially concerned. But the good times were rolling - money was plentiful. It feels like a different age, well meaning but utterly illusory. If Cameron does go ahead with some high profile sackings today, he may set a new tone for the austerity to come.

  7. Mars and Venus?

    What worries me is none of them is "nice". Any party.

    I have lost what tattered shreds of faith I have in anybody's competence and integrity - estate agents one kind of expects a certain lack - but bankers, politicians.......OK I'm obviously naive but also very angry.

  8. You are not Jerusalem; you are all of mighty China. "The Way" is the Dao of Laozi.

  9. Absolute monarchy was a washout, so many crowns, feudalism was top of the pops for a while until the descendants of Billy the konker overplayed their hands, all of those DeMobray's and De Mereley's to feed, parliamentary democracy is now at the tipping point, all of those Smiths and Blears to feed, off with their sodding heads, burn 'em at the stake, hang draw and quarter the gormless gits.

    Once again the group of people in charge are pissing in our soup, and we're drinking it.

    Cuckoo arrived this morning, spent the day singing it's head off, looking for mugs to take care of it's family, like the inhabitants of Westminster

  10. I beg to strike a different note than the majority outrage, both self-righteous and self-reinforcing. As already mentioned by Spongebob, Stephen Fry's off-the-cuff comments to Michael Crick yesterday are worth meditation. His key point being that many journalists are far worse than politicians in their creative use of expenses. There are in my estimation not a few pipes in London where that bulging fact should be inserted and the pious opinion formers concerned forced publicly to smoke it. As to the substantive issue, Tom Sowell got it right, as with most things, in Penny-wise politics back in September. Our elected representatives should of course be paid much more, then expected to produce truly decent performance. A diligent and thoughtful chap like Michael Gove, for example, is worth that kind of money and should not be concerning himself this week with a mere £500 for one night in a hotel as his family (Times leader writer included) were being moved due to his change of career. Many current MPs probably aren't worth it. Getting from here to there will not be without tears, many of them no doubt of the crocodile variety. That's why Fry's immediate and instinctive lack of humbug was such a great tonic.

  11. Richard, do look at this from Chris Dillow:

    'It's insufficiently appreciated just how well paid MPs are. Their annual salary is £64,766. According to the IFS, a single person on this income is in the top 3% of earners. If he has a partner earning £30,000 a year, this couple is also in the top 3% of household incomes.

    If a single MP claims £20,000 for waxing his drawbridge on top of this, he enters the top 1% of earners.

    Even if an MP has a non-working partner and four children, his salary, plus £20,000 of second home allowance, puts him in the richest one-fifth of households.

    Even if we concede that an MP works longer hours than average and look at hourly pay, MPs are still better off than most - in the top quartile for single persons.

    However you cut it, then, MPs are unrepresentative of their constituents in terms of earnings.

    The Times argues that MPs should be paid £90,000 a year - similarly to GPs or head-teachers. This, I think, is mistaken. It takes years of experience and training to become a GP or head-teacher. No such qualifications are necessary for MPs. And GPs and head-teachers must exercise considerable judgment. MPs don’t. As Alice Miles writes:

    With honourable exceptions — Labour’s Frank Field particularly stands out– MPs do little to apply any individual thought to the legislation before them...Watch an MP go off to vote: he will ask colleagues en route how they are supposed to be voting on this one.

    So how should we pay MPs? Much of their time is spent dealing with constituents’ housing or immigration issues. Which suggests they should be paid like social workers. And the average social worker earns less than £30,000.'

    Also, check out Daniel Finklestein's column in today's Times - there's a lot wrong with the House of Commons, and consequently the way decisions are made there that impact on very many people.

  12. And also, given Fry's rant, despite their distorting, sensationalist ways one useful service that journalists can (and occasionally do) perform is to keep our politicians relatively straight. This is important. The Telegraph has performed a very valuable public sevice this past week.

  13. As a true follower of Stephen Fry I'm at the Apple Store Oxford Circus waiting to get my iPhone fixed. This comment being drafted on the juicy new Mac mini. As to the substance, thanks Michael, I will look into it. I was thinking about something like £200k per annum though. I know that's not the ascetic Thatcher style - but as Cameron and cronies have had to come to terms with, the world's moved on since then, precisely because of the opening of markets of all kinds the great lady promoted. The figure's intended as a value statement. The credit crunch, and its mindless sequel of piling on further regulations that would never have saved us in the first place, should be taken as a major warning. We need legislators and executives that are some use next time.