Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Random Mutterings

Random mutterings 1 Some thoughts meandering through my mind from recent news stories.

Firstly, the attempts by some - principally Bob Crow of the RMT - to lay the blame for the tube 'alcohol ban' disturbances at the door of London Mayor Boris Johnson. Following Johnson's announcement that a ban would be put in place, a social website-driven party was organised by, one assumes, well meaning fun seekers to mark the event with a final drinking session on the trains. Predictably it turned to violence and anti-social behaviour amongst the cretinous types that get drawn to this sort of thing. Mr Crow should point his finger in the right direction. Johnson's intentions are honourable and he should not be held responsible for the disgraceful behaviour of a few morons. Bravo Boris for taking the decision to help get drunks out of our public spaces. Let's see more of these courageous policies.


Thank goodness that Hilary Clinton's and Barack Obama's rhetoric-laden slag-fest has finally reached its end. OK, so it's important that we hear what the potential next leaders of the free world have to say, but even their most ardent supporters must by now be weary of the vacuous, pompous, soundbite-friendly self aggrandising rubbish that they have both been spouting for months on end. This style of presidential campaigning seems to have become par for the course in US politics ever since Kennedy's days. Every hopeful leader tries to emulate the legendary dead president, each imagining that the only way to strike a chord with the voters is to appear supremely poignant and statesmanlike, delivering pithy one-liners and talking of principles and values constantly, to the exclusion of practicalities and relevant comment on real life problems. None will willingly talk about detailed policy when they can generalise instead. As this Democratic battle slogged on I wondered if I was the only one who wished they'd actually talk about something of substance? But judging by the whoops and hollers of their captive audiences. who seem to take orgasmic pleasure when being whipped into a fervour by the mere throat-clearings of their chosen idols, I suspect I'm alone. Americans, it appears, love their politics to be repleat with bollocks.


Gordon Brown has stated his desire to reduce the age at which youths can be prosecuted for carrying knives from 18 to 16. A predictable (some might say pandering) reaction to the recently reported spate of knife crimes in our cities. Nevertheless, credit where it is due - Brown's move is a welcome one. Doubtless there will be those who oppose the change on the basis that the wee ones' rights would be violated; or they would prefer to wait until a stabbing has actually occurred rather than removing the potential for it to happen. Make the change. Publicise the new law. Arrest and prosecute the flouters. Less knifes on our streets equals more deaths prevented. That, surely, is an objective that cannot be questioned. Please politicians, don't try to make petty gains by arguing against such a fundamentally sensible proposal.


Who will be the next Deputy Governor of the Bank of England? That seems to be a bone of contention for Mervyn King and Alastair Darling, each of whom favours quite different candidates. Darling wants a City man - Paul Tucker - while King has let it be known that his fellow academic Charles Bean is his 2-I-C of choice. Darling contends that the financial sector would be more at ease with a Deputy Governor, and potential Governor-in-waiting, who was 'one of them', able to empathise with their concerns and to work cooperatively with the markets. This, he thinks, will help promote stability. King on the other hand would prefer the expert monetarist, professorial Bean whom he thinks would be most adept with the complex management of an economy needing critical care, with inflation burgeoning yet stagnation a real threat. The choice is Darling's to make, but he will not wish to have a public spat with King over it. In any case, King retains responsibility for any subsequent reshuffle he should care to make. With both applicants ostensibly fitting the job description it will be a test of resolve for both the Governor and the Chancellor on which one gets the appointment letter.

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