Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Redwood Wrong on the BBC and the Bogeyman

John Redwood writing in the Sunday Telegraph about the BBC’s coverage of his recent Policy Commission report made two interesting points.

The first point was that since the report was finished before Gordon became PM, how could it be, as claimed by Labour, a “lurch to the Right” after the negative polls of the last few weeks?

The second more bitter point: “I do not recall, every time Neil Kinnock made a statement as EU Commissioner, the BBC running the clip of him slipping on the beach. Gordon Brown’s statements are not introduced by running the recent pictures of him picking his nose on the front bench. I look forward to fairer treatment in future.”

Actually that is not quite true, BBC News 24 explicitly re-ran Gordon’s nosepicking the next day. The presenters were smirking in a weirdly restrained manner and referred to “the allegation”. French TV’s premier late night current affairs show ran the footage to much hilarity in the studio, the female TV presenter saying haughtily something like “this is the man the British want as Prime Minister”. Guido never misses an excuse to show it – much to the annoyance of some.

Here, once again, is the re-mixed version of Gordon the Bogeyman. It has also been reconfigured for viewing on video enabled mobile phones (http://messagespace.co.uk/bogey) and released as a text-messaged viral to download. The idea being that people will show it on their phones to their mates down the pub.

Once you watch it, you won’t be able to get it outta your head, unlike Gordon. You can see the close-up Bogeytastic re-mix again on GuyNews.TV.

Is this just typical Guidoisation, the trivialisation and personalisation of politics? You bet. Does this type of thing have an effect on voter opinion – for sure – ask David Steel about his spitting image puppet. For intellectual support for Guido’s thesis read the hit political book of the summer, Drew Westen’s The Political Brain: How People Vote and How to Change Their Minds: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gordon and House Prices

“I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.”
Gordon Brown, 1997 Budget Statement.

But Gordon did allow house prices to get out of control. Some of the housing market numbers are scary, the average house now costs 6 times average earnings – in London the figure is 10 times earnings. The historical long term figure is some 3 and half times earnings.

Is it any wonder that the average age of a first time buyer is 33 years old? Twentysomething families can’t afford a home of their own.

Yield models suggest* that house prices have to fall 40% to return to the long term average.

The simple truth is that in real terms it is now twice as expensive to buy a house as it was before Gordon promised he would “not allow house prices to get out of control”.

*Or rents could rise a corresponding amount.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Undercover Journalist Uncovered by Google

Iain has a story about the Daily Mirror Caught Trying to Infiltrate Conservative HQ with a posh girl. She came unstuck after they Googled her name and came up with her Mirror byline, then they checked the source of her email back to the Mirror’s offices. Doh!

Iain mutters darkly about legal action – presumably lying on her CV and at the interview – which is a form of attempted fraud. Don’t hold your breath on that going anywhere. Who hasn’t?

Anyway isn’t this what investigative journalists are supposed to do?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Caption Contest

Mortgage Repossessions Set to Explode

“We will not return to the old boom and bust.”

Gordon Brown, 11th Budget Statement, 21 March 2007

Housing market: Repossessions
Court actions for Recovery of Residential Housing and Land, England and Wales, from 1996

Source: Department for Constitutional Affairs & HM Courts Service

Telegraph Political Team in Meltdown

As reported here three weeks ago, it seems that the Little and Large blog is dead, it is an ex-blog. Jonathan Isaby and Brendan Carlin seem to have abandoned the idea. Look around some of the other blogs and they are also pretty dead. Ben Brogan at the Daily Mail and Danny Finkelstein at The Times are really the only serious Dead-Tree-Press political bloggers going now.

Elsewhere at the Telegraph the experienced George Jones has apparently been given the push in such a cack-handed way that he’s suing and expected to get a six-figure pay-off. His job is being given to the silent-but-deadly Andrew Porter, of the Sun, formerly on the Sunday Times who is an old chum of Telegraph editor Will Lewis. Key qualities: won’t tell Lewis not to be such a silly boy; won’t be a member of Telegraph ancien regime.

Porter’s place on the Sun (keep up) is being taken by Graeme Wilson of the Telegraph. Wilson’s place on the Telegraph is being taken by James Kirkup from the Scotsman. Toby Helm is rumoured to have wanted to get out of the Lobby – if you’d been passed over for the top job you might conclude there was little point in hanging around to see if you got it next time. One of the things the imported Mailograph newsdesk didn’t realise about him – his sister is married to Jonathan Powell, although that is not such an asset nowadays. The new Mailograph is obsessed with getting scoops, a-la Andrew Pierce. But a lot of Pierce’s scoops stay exclusive, and with good reason.

Politicians Can’t Hide from Guido

Dateline : Tuscany, Tuesday – via a co-conspirator.If Guido can get a shot David, so can Al Qaeda. Perhaps he thinks the feeble boyish moustache and tan disguise will fool them…

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Boom to Bust : Stocks Down 10% this Month

Stocks dropped 4% today, the FTSE 100 is down 10% this month and big UK mortgage lender Northern Rock has halved in price since the beginning of the year. What are the political ramifications for Gordon? Well didn’t he tell us he had abolished boom to bust?

BBC v Bloggers

Am enjoying the BBC being on the back foot and apologetic as a result of stories by Iain and the chaps at the Biased BBC blog being picked up by the Dead Tree Press.

The fact is that the BBC worldview is a cultural suppressant. We all learn from the BBC that America is bad, Israel is very bad, businessman are bad, all problems can be solved by throwing more money at them, but we are all going to die from global warming anyway. They are the BBC, that is what they do.

Worse still the BBC is an innovations black hole. It sucks young talent into a slow monolithic bureaucracy, we don’t have a Silicon Valley culture of innovation because our best and brightest go work for a not-for-profit para-statal broadcaster which crowds out private sector start-ups. The iPlayer? Re-hashed Microsoft crap which is not even open source, despite the BBC being a “public service”. How many enterprises never get off the ground because the BBC is in the market sector and for-profit enterprises can’t compete and make a profit? With the lack of a for-profit mentality comes a depressing culture.

Come the party conference season the hangar-sized media centres will be filled with journalists, approximately half of whom will be from the BBC. Yet Sky News, with a fraction of the resources, will match their output story wise. Last year at the Tory party conference Guido watched various BBC camera teams film the media pack that was surrounding Boris. They all had their own presenters reporting duplicate stories for different BBC outlets. A complete waste of money that would not happen if the BBC could not coerce billions from the public.

UPDATE : Bloggers are even correcting NASA climate change data – it now turns out that 1934 not 1998 was the hottest year in the US since records began.

Seen Elsewhere

What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins
Westminster Will Never Allow Referendum Again | Daily Mash
Yes Scotland’s Geo-Targeting Advertising Fail | MessageSpace
#IndyRef Twitter Map | Trendsmap
Westminster Has Patronised Scots | Scottish Sun
What Happens in the Event of a Recount? | Breitbart
Yes Side Emphatically Won Campaign | Speccie
Joyce Thacker on Sick Leave | Doncaster Free Press
Claire Perry Slams ‘Goodies’ for Scots | Sun

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The Prime Minister feels the pressure:

“I have to say that after the events I have been facing over the last few days, assassination would be a welcome release.”

It was only a tiny tiny collision.

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