The year that was… Happy 2013

Time for a quick review, so in no particular order

 

Jessica

We all struggled through and continued to pay the price of banker failures

Government told examiners how to mark exam papers

Facebook went public and immediately lost millions for millions

The Queen was impressed by a hula hooping Grace Jones

Games makers all made us smile

Mitt Romney admitted to a little gay bashing in his younger days

The Suni and Shia continued their battles – same as it ever was

Syria planted landmines on its border…to stop its enemies getting out…

An English businessman was killed in mysterious circumstances in China

Julian Assange hid out in an embassy

There was talk of building pavements in the sky or ‘skyways’ for cyclists

Panorama falsely accused a politician of molesting children

MPs claimed expenses for second houses for their mistresses

I released the single “Don’t Ask Why”

Cover for "Don't Ask Why"

Oracle said that the world is running out of space for all its data

England reduced the New Zealand rugby team to just another team

Iran talked about nuclear deterrents in order to go nuclear

Felix Baumgartner fell to earth very very fast

Ash trees were reduced to ashes

More soldiers died for nothing in Afghanistan

Peter Higgs discovered the future

Less people applied to university

Hillsborough victims got their justice, a bit of a shock for Boris Johnson…

A new governor was appointed to the Bank of England from Canada… and Goldman Sachs

Ex Goldman Sachs technocrats ran European economies… for the benefit of themselves… but mostly Goldman Sachs

Argentina seized back its oil resources, Ecuador seized back its national grid, Putin went after Russia’s oil

The paralympians inspired so that the disabled went from being seen as sub-human to superhuman

For a few weeks the UK became a different country called Olympia where we all talked to each other for a while

The Olympians were heroes, heroes to the last

The son of India’s President called anti-rape protesters “dented and painted”

We missed the inflation target as if it ever was one

Boris Johnson invited over more bankers from France because we need more of them obviously

George Osborne made things worse as he always has and extended the recession

Bosses mumbled about values at Davos and then went back to the day job

The right wing press continued their sycophantic support of the right wing

The right wing continued their sycophantic support of the right wing press

Cameron abandoned a few ministers and policies as usual

Hockney had a successful run at the Royal Academy with his tablet paintings

The album “Fire in the doll’s house” received 4 stars in Guitarist and Q magazine

Fire in the doll's house

The banks and lobbyists continued to revise history to say it was all our fault and exonerate themselves of any blame… or involvement…they weren’t there in fact

Danny Alexander was a worry…is a worry

Fuel edged up towards £1.50 a litre and society became a little less mobile

The church remained in the dark ages and shunned women for another 3 years

Osborne nicked the Royal Mail pension fund for £35bn

Cameron kept on rambling on about dementia…

Andy Murray lost and cried at Wimbledon, so cometh the man

England attempted to play football at the Euros

Spain played football at the Euros

The suicide rate in Greece rocketed

Banks got away with murder for another year

The financial markets continued to prey on nations in financial difficulties

Pay day loans companies thrived like vultures over a wildebeest massacre

Rupert Murdoch was the acid in the blood as usual

Rebecca Brooks was unrepentant like the cold-hearted bitch that she is

Charlie Brooks fired a warning shot at the PM about tennis shots with the PM

A former TV presenter who used to fulfill children’s dreams turned out to have fulfilled children’s nightmares

Osborne called green campaigners the environmental Taliban

Scientists estimated that Antarctica is warming twice as fast as expected

The world population was 7.06 billion

We all learned a bit more about something called “Libor”

Hollande arrived in France

Nick Clegg said sorry

There was a lot of hot air over wind farms

Hurricane Sandy blew away hurricane Romney

Kids were blown away like a hurricane in Sandy Hook

News International was found to have had a blackmail team to ‘out’ politicians

Bob Diamond paid the price of illegally fixing the price in spite of calling everyone by their first name and declaring his love for Queen and company…

The Prudential threatened to leave the UK because of new rules they don’t like

Banks and insurance companies quietly bought water companies

Wheat and commodities traders (bankers) quietly bought wheat and commodities companies to control the food supply and own Africa and the world

Tony Blair brokered a merger between two major commodities traders so they can have even more control of the food supply and own Africa and the world

Tony Blair made a lot of money and went on about his philanthropy in Africa whilst at the same time aiding Africa’s downfall

China and Japan disputed some islands

George Entwistle was new DG of the BBC for about 3 months

Head of BP Bob Dudley, said casually that the world has enough oil reserves for the next 54 years…then what…

14 protected and endangered one-horned rhinos died in floods in India

Sir John Gurdon turned all cells into stem cells and was duly awarded a Nobel

The Nobel Peace prize went to the European Union…

Christies had a bumper year

Most people got poorer

Government said it can cut £4bn by cutting disability allowances

Government bank bailouts recently estimated at £700bn, half national debt

Interest on national debt approximately £50bn

George Osborne made things worse as ever

5000 tigers were estimated to exist in the wild

Mr. MacAfee went on the run

Sainsbury’s said that carrots on the shelves will be ‘uglier’ than normal

A women died of hunger in Uganda

Chavez remained in power

Many in the UK slid silently into fuel poverty

Many in the UK slid silently into poverty

Alcohol related offenders were told they would wear bracelets to monitor alcohol levels, the first personal black box, next will be an implant

The Olympics were awesome

Sideburns made a comeback

Arise Sir Bradley

People made heart shapes with their fingers and thumbs

Seb Coe brought home the gold…again

The Olympics was lit up by a Bolt not from the blue

A man called Mo lifted his arms and lifted the nation

A sailor got angry, people howled at the Weirwolf, rowers wept and Jessica smiled and cried and smiled

Andy Murray won at last

Swedish House Mafia broke up, the Stones kept on going

Some European golfers made an impossible comeback

Starbucks were busted, as was Google and Amazon and Facebook…

The Standard blamed the last government

The Standard blamed the eurocrisis on protesters and strikers

The Standard won Boris Johnson the mayoral election

Boris Johnson thanked the Standard for its ‘sterling work’

Rail fares went up, gas bills went up, electricity bills went up, council tax went up, food went up, water bills went up, airfare tax went up, car insurance went up

Most things…went up… incomes went down – something’s wrong there

High street shops closed down

It was almost £100 to fill an average car

Andy Murray won at last in America!

James Mini Murdoch quietly went back onto the board at BSkyB

Admiralty Arch went up for sale along with other bits of Britain, like rivers

HSBC was done for money laundering

Andy Haldane of the Bank of England said that Occupy had a point…

A US republican congressman stated categorically the world is 9000 years old

Arts were removed from the national curriculum

Students sold their faces for advertising

Apprenticeships programmed launch to make more lawyers and accountants

Tory funder and tax exile $Lord$ Ashcroft said we should stop giving to the third world

Barak Obama remained in power

Rihanna sang with David Guetta, Adele sang with passion and pain, Ravi stopped playing and the Stones played on

Bond was back

The Sunday Times said of me, “The protest singer has a pulse again”

The last shuttle was towed through LA streets

Lance Armstrong, if things seem too good to be true….

Blood proved thicker than water, gold proved thicker than blood, but love proved thicker than gold

What a year…

 

Here’s wishing you a great 2013.   Peace and joy to all.  Tom

 

 

 

The flame still burns

If you’re underwater and you’re trying to make it to the surface, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.   It’s the image that comes to mind when I hear various commentators, journalists, politicians, analysts and the like talking about the latest GDP figures that showed ‘we are out of recession.’   There is talk about the Olympics having ‘kick started’ the economy.  Kick starting would appear to long lasting, as if firing up an old engine and getting it into gear again after having been in neutral for so long.   Never mind that bankers put us into reverse…

And here we are today talking about GDP figures and 1% growth and we have lots people talking about how encouraging that is. The Olympics and Paralympics supposedly generated 0.2% of that and what with the Queen’s jubilee holiday in the last quarter the overall effect is let’s say, 0.2% growth, apparently.  Not staggering.  Yesterday someone from the CBI was on the BBC sofa talking about how this is great news for everyone.  They can be more optimistic based on the good news and go out and spend their money.   That was the message…in so many circuitous words, presumably in the hope that people will actually go out on the streets and spend all the cash that they are ‘going’ to make in the future.   Presume the CBI would like them get a loan from Wonga to help perpetuate the Olympics effect.

It would appear people interviewed on the street beg to differ with the CBI’s optimistic outlook.  It might have something to do with rising travel prices, rising energy bills, further pressure on household budgets.   Maybe they are looking in astonishment as the thoughts of their dwindling savings go through their head and how much closer they are to bankruptcy than they were this time last year.   Oh and btw, for those that have wondered in the past about people supposedly illogically paying off debt in difficult times, it’s the fear of repossession that does it.   It only takes one organization to file for bankruptcy and the rest will come knocking.  It’s the fear of the mountain of debt that you know is there unless you chip it away to at least a manageable level. Otherwise one day you, like a marathon runner, will hit that wall.

I fear that we might well be counting our chickens and as we know neither the banks, the Bank of England or the Government has been shown to be much good at counting anything.   Best suggestion is they keep their ears to the ground and self-congratulatory words to a minimum.  If there are signs of life it has nothing to do with their efforts and more to do with our resilience and determination, traits so exemplified by the athletes that graced these fields over the summer and a fire as hot as the sun that burned within them.   It’s one thing for them to try and talk us out of a recession, it is quite another to get out of it, requiring strength, tenacity, and the courage and bravery of the people, most surely a true Olympian task.

The Dandy Highwaymen

Well it’s the Times again but the headlines says it all, French election may leave nuclear no longer an option. In a way they don’t realise what they are saying. Of course they are going to have a go at the new socialist leader of the France, after all it is likely that his policy will force the likes of EDF, the French energy giant, to focus it’s attention, and investment, on France. The argument goes that Hollande would prefer that EDF spend money on domestic power generation from renewables and energy efficiency schemes, and importantly, not continue with its UK nuclear programme. And it all sort of misses the point really and that is that the energy needs of a country is in the hands of one company. If EDF does indeed decide to scale back his or her nuclear programme the UK will be facing a future energy shortage or be scrambling around to get someone else to do it. Precarious doesn’t even do it justice.

We have been here before but last time it was when the regulator stood up for the consumer for pricing. There was some suitably glowing coverage of the new appointee at the time, tough talking on behalf of the man on the street. On page 5 on that day, towards the end of a fairly lengthy piece looking at the energy market there was a short paragraph including a warning from energy companies that curtailment of their activities and price controls would make it ‘very difficult’ for them to continue with the nuclear programme investment.

And there it was, a few companies that were once given the key to the goldmine through privatisation, were quietly able to hold the company to ransom. We charge what we like, you the government back off, you the consumer pay….or you get cold, your choice, that’s the deal. Prudential did some similar sabre rattling quietly the other day about threatening to leave if regulations got in the way of their profiteering. People will call this anti-business rhetoric. Is it? Or is it that there is an inherent threat to society built into markets where their players can threaten society, either by withholding investment or taking away jobs.

And so it is that we now find ourselves at the hands of an energy company who’s fortune and strategy may have changed because of the will of a people and political change. We shall see but either way, it is just one further example of the corporatization of our lives, it’s subjugation to corporate needs and principles. The new empires are there for all to see.

The Times would rather blame the socialist, of course it would. But perhaps we should be thinking of the greater arguments that will be there beyond the election of a new leader this year or next, a conflict that may rage for years to come and where we are just seeing the first skirmishes. It should not be a surprise that Argentina took over an energy company. That is just the start of the backlash as the dial turns from 60/40 in favour of business and the minority to 40/60 in favour of the people and the majority.

The Times, “French election may leave nuclear no longer an option.” 8 May 2012

The new economic paradox

Well we should not be surprised, it is after all Jeremy Warner commenting in the Telegraph, but it’s still shocking that not long into his article we get into the underlying praise for the banks and the disgust at the general public for their over indebtedness. Once again the finger of blame points outwards rather than towards the cause of the global financial meltdown. And so we read that ‘progress has been made on household deleveraging’ where indebtedness as a proportion of income has fallen from 166% to 148%. Oh well done everyone! And apparently the banks are having to deleverage as well, having to sell off assets because of the absence of ‘cheap funding.’ Oh the irony. You mean the absence of other banks wishing to lend to them. That sounds familiar. So very 2007…

And then of course we hear the usual speak of the lobbyists and their puppets, that ‘much more onerous capital and liquidity requirements’ are making life even harder for the poor bankers. That’s right, let’s just leave things exactly as they were, so you can do it all again. There is a reason why history repeats itself and generally it’s down to people like Jeremy, the ones that turn a blind eye. I trust he feels he is one of the ones likely to weather the next storm rather well. He’ll probably be working for a PR company by then. Many of the PR hating journos I once knew are all PRs now.

He goes on. Something about comparing us to the US and that they are ‘typically about six months ahead of us in their economic cycle.’ More hope than fact given that they seem to be doing rather well post financial collapse. He then contradicts that assumption saying that it might be a bounce in the US because the cuts haven’t bitten over there. They haven’t bitten here Jeremy!

Might be of course that they’re not going to bite in the US in the way there are going to bite here because their economic policy is not being directed by a public school prefect who knows nothing about economics. I don’t actually know what Osborne has done since but seriously, think 18 yr old school prefect being given the keys to a formula 1 car. Now imagine the consequences.

He then goes on to talk about there being somewhere ‘pent up’ demand from business and then from invisible consumers. Never mind that this completely misunderstands the nature of the pressure on household income, the drivers of inflation, the new economic paradox. As he concludes, sometimes ‘it’s best just to stop worrying about the future and get on with it.’ Yeah, best follow your own advice Jeremy and please shut up!

The new economic paradox? Progress, wealth, expansion, success, proliferation, the very things that are signs of a successful economic growth and civilization are the exact things that, where there are limited or finite rescources, will make it fail. Success = failure. Therefore time for change.

The Telegraph, “Why the economy is starting to look up.” April 2012

Huff, puff and guff

I guess we are just starting to see the more public slating of the Bank of England by the Tory press. There will be more. You can always give the governor of the Bank of England a kicking for the way the economy is going. I am sure we are going to hear louder and louder whispers about the Guvnor’s mistakes over the economy coming from no. 11 as a way of deviating the argument away from Osborne’s utter incompetence.

I note on 18 April 2012 MPs were supposedly telling the Bank of England that it must explain to people what Quantitative Easing is and why low interest rates are good for Britain. There is a very good reason for this and that is because the MPs don’t have a fucking clue themselves. So best to ‘demand’ that the BofE explains it to the people …..so the MPs don’t have to. After all [implied] it’s all the Bank of England’s fault and, if it isn’t now, it certainly will be when the shit comes down. This most certainly will be the findings of the Treasury Select Committee that decided the current monetary policy should be termed ‘loose.’ Do they even know what ‘loose’ monetary policy is? What would ‘tight’ be I wonder? Or maybe they’re lining that up the term ‘loose’ for the future so it can be termed ‘liberal’…. We shall see.

Select Committees are interesting apart from the fact that committees in general are a forum for huff, puff and guff. I wonder, do MPs feel they have been selected for a team when they are asked? They probably never got that at school! Oooh the excitement. No doubt they are extremely pleased and feel they should live up to the duffery required as long as it concludes that someone else is to blame, was to blame and certainly will be.

Case in point, Andrew Tyrie, the Treasury Committee’s chairman (he must have been wetting himself when he got that! Oh the importance!!) said “Given the potential impact on millions of people of the Financial Policy Committee’s new power of direction, this will be an issue of intense public and thus parliamentary interest.” Wow! [implied] “I am so there for the people, but we’ve given the Bank ‘new’ powers so we’ve really passed the buck this time, thank god, we didn’t want to look after the complicated stuff so we’ve ‘passed on’ those powers to them, because I’m so there for the people. It will be of interest to the people so it absolutely will be of interest to parliament.

Oh did I not say? I’m really really important, so important that I talk about parliament in the third person because I am in parliament and you are not. That’s where we do not shirk our responsibility to the people and make the tough decisions….oh yes, and I am sooooo important I’m weeing my pants!!”

He apparently commented that he also had ‘serious reservations’ (and ever so important ones) about retrospective tax policy to claim back taxes, for say £400m owed by, say, Barclays. Dreadful behaviour, no let’s go after the man in the street instead… because you are so there for the people… just like David and Boris and George, otherwise known as Huff, Puff and Guff.

The Times, MPs call on Bank to tell savers why low interest rates are good for Britain, 18 April 2012

Murdochski

I read today comments from Evgeny Lebedev, the proprietor of The Independent and the London Evening Standard who says that media owners ‘enfeeble’ democracy when they start to influence policy. Really? You think?! Nice of him to say so at least. The irony of it coming from a Russian. I have found that Russians and many that come from former Eastern bloc regimes understand the dark arts of propaganda and the control of information more than a naïve westerner. He talks about the political interference suffered by many papers in Russia but adds that there are times in the British press where the relationship between pressmen and politicians becomes unhealthy. I would argue that in certain ways the cozy relationship that can exist between the two is more dangerous and subversive. In Russia at least the people might know that the press is controlled and cajoled. In the UK the danger is that the public do not realize the degree to which it is manipulated, the degree to which politicians bend to their whims for positive coverage.

Of course Lebedev is saying in the run up to the appearance of the Murdoch’s at the Leveson enquiry. It is now day 3 of the Murdoch charade with Murdoch Jnr having appeared there on Tuesday and Senior yesterday and today. I can’t wait to catch up with it in the papers later this morning. It is difficult to find words to describe Rupert Murdoch and to understand his motives or in fact the degree to which he understands the damage he inflicts on society. It is fair to say he will be remorseless and unrepentant.

It is interesting to note Lebedev feels that “Politicians generally over-estimate the influence of newspapers.” I wish I could believe him but I was watching the press in the run up to the last election, the constant belittling and harassment of the opposition in the Sun and News of the World, the consistent bigging up of Cameron in The Times. It was incessant and to think it didn’t make a difference. The stuff you really have to look out for is not the reporting of the facts it’s the inferences and implied messages. It’s the spin, the agreement between hack and PR as to how it should be played and what the pay off is to the journo, a front page scoop, an exclusive interview or photo, permission to buy the remainder of BSkyB. Well we will see how the Murdoch does today but expect no surprises. It is interesting and disturbing to think that a Russian owner of a UK paper talks about politicians interfering in papers when we live in a state where it is proprietors interfering with politicians. Oh the irony Murdochski.

(The word “interfering” conjures up a whole different type of image but it is as least distasteful. It does help one see the relationship more clearly when one sees it as a form of molesting, conditioning, fiddling, those grubby old hands, that self-satisfied smile, yes, that fits more closely.)

The Independent, “Enfeebled politicians are a danger to democracy, warns proprietor.” 24 April 2012

Crash diets

“If thought corrupts language,” said Orwell, “language can also corrupt thought.” So quotes Jeff Randall in the Telegraph. Now Jeff Randall is a respected journalist and commentator on the economy. He even shows up on TV doing his Mr. Everyman interpretation of the facts. So I’ll just say this, “Give over Jeff!” When people quote Orwell for their own gain you’ve got to worry. His argument relates to the creation or the adoption of new language to describe current economic policy, words like “cruel,” “callous’ in relation to the cuts, “savage” and that “fairness” is an overused and politically motivated word. Life’s not fair eh Jeff! The reason for the re-categorisation of these words as part of the new newspeak is the observation that these ‘new’ definitions are associated with the new economics of laziness and government over spending.

They come at the end of a long diatribe associated with the increase in government spending. He does at least mention the fact that spending has increased over the last 25 years so not totally party political. Anyway, the British State costs £700bn vs £450bn 10 years ago. He also points out that spending on health means people live longer. Perish the thought in this supposedly developed and civilized society. Let them die! How’s your heart Jeff? Anyway, it goes on, we get to the magic figure of £26,000 which has taken on a new iconic status in the common culture, it being the figure generally bounced around when talking about the craziness of the benefits system i.e. a family on benefits receiving more than the average wage. And it’s all this kind of thing that means we are now looking at an expected national debt of £1.4bn by the time of the next election. It’s like the Daily Mail!

NO Jeff! What I find amazing about any business commentator is there utter refusal to acknowledge what happened in 2008 and the banking crisis, when national debt roughly doubled. Now forgive me Jeff but what happens to interest on that debt when it doubles. Not only did we rocket the national debt with the bank bailouts but we doubled our interest payments. And yes Jeff you’re right, national income will probably not grow as quickly as the debt… for that reason. We’re in a poverty trap it would seem, a debt pit, an austerity cage.

Anyway, according to JeffdiJeff, well I think this is what he is saying, we should cut harder, cut public spending harder, really up the short sharp shock. Oh dear, it is amazing that supposedly informed commentators actually think that by really constricting consumer demand we will somehow drive growth. If it’s about generating wealth through exports, then where was the mention of that? There is only one way forward and that is for cuts to public services, increase in interest rates and other economic tuning mechanisms, to be linked to growth and the economy’s capacity to absorb them. Growth first, then rebalance. You just can’t rush it. Crash diets rarely work. The sooner the government and its lobbyists, journalists and commentators alike, understand it the better for all of us. Oh and you might have to think about the real source of inflation Jeff, but that’s another question.

However, so it is again that a sycophantic press spend their time lobbying the public on behalf of the banks and the government, revising the impact of the banks and supporting the policies that are likely to make things worse. Never mind, I am sure they will wash your hands of it in the future. Another day, another story. That’s why I’m writing this, so we remember.

The Telegraph, “Only by tackling spending will we ever tame the debt monster.” 26 March 2012

Mice in the maze

I read with interest, some dismay but no surprise a piece by Fraser Nelson at the Telegraph today regarding the Government’s proposals to toughen up on national security policy, the monitoring of everyone’s emails, secret trials etc. As he’s prattling on about party politics I despair at the lack of insight into the actual consequences of making such changes and what it means for all of us. Let’s think first about secret trials. We have a Judiciary in this country and have had for, well, a while. Now it may not be perfect and often it proves its limitations but the main principle here is that the Judiciary is independent from the State. In the case of secret trials, the decision as to whether a trial can be conducted in secret is down to a judge, not a minister. There is no argument for putting such decisions in the hands of, and let’s be clear, an MP with very little experience of the subject matter and the arguments. The Judiciary may have its flaws but it is what we have and the separation of powers is there for a good reason. That way we don’t get somebody’s life being put in somebody else’s hands that are puppeted by political agenda and the next bi-elections, or a recent soldiers death, or budget dementia or the revelations of corruption in government. You know what happens sometimes when things get tough for politicians, they look for big-ticket items to cover the front pages. Terrorism and war tend to work. God, let me think, last time that happened with a Tory PM we went to war with Argentina! What are the chances? I note that HMS Dauntless is steaming down there as we speak, but surely not. Daunting indeed.

Context. You have to see things in context. And that is difficult if you are seeing things in cross section sideways on much like Mr. Nelson’s article. For example, I remember going into a Cambridge lab many years ago. A friend of mine was studying voice recognition and was showing me something called the Internet. It was ’92 I reckon. I watched in awe, well not so much awe, but interest at images on a screen that were being accessed from a server at MIT or somewhere similar of a human body sliced up into very thin wafers. Remember I’m in a Cambridge science lab. It was fascinating but difficult to get an image of the person perhaps, and their life, their former existence etc. It needed more information, some context, and a face perhaps.

And that brings us on to the next point, mass monitoring. I’ll just get it out the way but the point you missed Fraser is that it can be done without a warrant. I refer to my points above about Judiciary and State. It’s about checks and balances. Actually, it strikes me that these days it appears so often to be about ‘cheques’ and balances but that’s another story. Or is it? Just for a second let’s think, phone hacking, money, Murdoch, the police, ministers. Hmmm. Anyway, back to big brother. So the idea is that essentially the government can monitor everything about anyone whenever they feel like it without legal reason or argument. They can check out anything about you, me, everybody! Now where do we start? Well firstly there’s the government’s record on looking after personal information, you know, personal data falling out of the back of lorries. Then there’s the cost, which will be borne by us to pay for information to be stored about us that will be used at some point potentially against us.

And to put things into context Fraser, it’s another layer of control over society. It’s more walls in the maze that is society’s so called freedom. It’s a devolutionary step in society’s development. The more you control or seek to control or are seen to control society, the more you take away a feeling of ownership, participation, responsibility, self-determination. It takes away accountability, social cohesion, community spirit. And this government talks about ‘Big Society’. If anything, you increase the distance between government and the people. Not only do people believe more and more that what they say makes no difference but now they don’t even have to say anything! They can just text someone or email someone. Big Brother will be watching anyway. Privacy? Gone.

What do you think that does for the people? No you CAN’T be trusted! You must stay on the lead. But then again this government is not about the people, for the people etc. We are not all in this together.

During the Blair years we saw an ever-increasing weight of laws to curtail personal freedoms. You do that and sooner or later you’re going to see flare-ups that are reactions to being totally ignored. A “fuck you!” to the man. Yeah, and that links Blair directly to last year’s riots. I’ll just let you ponder that for a while Fraser.

I’m presuming that Kenneth Clarke was under pressure to come up with something. He’s been a bit quiet since being hung out to dry on prison reform. And there it is, a case in point, you’re email can be hacked, trials conducted in secret, your phone records studied, your text messages read, and all because a politician’s career needs a helping hand or a Party needs a short-term bump in the polls. I don’t think so.

The Telegraph, 6th April 2012, ‘The snooping Bill is out to catch crooks, not ensnare terrorists’