Friday, October 24, 2008

Mandelson Flexes His Muscles

It didn't take long. The doctor of spin is back. This week he tells us that there is no turning back on New Labour policies. At the same time his name comes up in dealing with Russian billionaires, he tells us first that we must move forward with privatizing the Post Office and that the economic crisis is not the fault of market forces but of regulation. You can read this on the BBC website and here's a quote from that article.

"I don't believe what has happened is market failure in the financial sector. I believe it is a regulatory failure."

It might sound good but it doesn't bare much inspection. If the Thatcher/Reagan economics that New Labour followed was the reduction of government interference in the economy and allowing market to regulate itself, then the statement is obviously flawed. If you remove regulation to leave it to the markets and there's a failure, how can you blame regulations that don't exist.

In the end if you believe in a mixed economy, which I suspect most of us do, then it's time the mix was moved away from what are now discredited policies, and that does mean those that New Labour and Thatcher before them pushed.

The grass roots of the Labour Party need to revolt against the leadership in bringing back this man and maybe the best way would be to replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber as New Labour promised.

Charlton Athletic 0-2 Bristol City

A bad week for Charlton. Not only did the team roll over for Bristol City but yesterday came the news that Dubai wouldn't be buying the club. I suspect there are not many smiles on those associated with the club but someone who should be happy is Alan Pardew.

I suspect that, with the poor results from last season and so far this one, a new manager would have been the first signing of the new owners if the take-over had gone ahead. Maybe a few of the players will also feel a bit safer now.

As for the club's future, it doesn't seem very bright. The existing board is obviously trying to get out of the money hole that football clubs not in the Premier League now are. Can they find a buyer in the present economic climate? We have to hope so, but it is a shame that British football grew into the Limited or Public Company format it now is. I wish it had gone along the lines of non-profit social clubs like Australian Rules clubs or Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cardiff City 2-0 Charlton Athletic

The opposite score to last year and not a good time to not only lose but have two men sent off. If we were meant to be showing the Dubai Royal Family why they should buy Charlton instead of Everton/West Ham/Newcastle/Liverpool/Portsmouth, we didn't do a very good job.

Monday, October 20, 2008

True Colours

I liked John McCain! I really did. I had seen him on Jon Stewart's Daily Show which we get out here on Sundays with CNN. Compared to the recent US Republican presidential candidates he looked like a breath of fresh air. Hinting at a liberal position on everything except Iraq, and even there he was saying the war was a mistake but the increase in troop levels was to set the conditions for a withdrawal. (OK, I know, it didn't work in Vietnam.)

Before the Republican convention it was beginning to look like a win-win situation for anyone to the left of Attila the Hun. Of course there is no real left in US presidential politics, something that we have followed in the UK since New Labour. Since the convention McCain has been trying to appeal to the more extreme right base of his party.

Even so I was surprised during the last debate with a couple of the views he stated. First was his obvious dislike of the UK and Sweden's health systems. He considered comparing these with Obama's policies was an insult. I thought the only people who could believe this, for all the NHS's faults, were the health industry and millionaire doctors.

Also the idea of using taxes to what he called 'spreading the wealth' was not only wrong, but far worse, it was socialism. Now if you have to say this to get the religious right on your side, there must be something wrong with Christianity in the US for all their Sunday church-going. Haven't they read about what Jesus told the rich man in the New Testament? (OK, so neither have I but I'm sure it's to do with giving those riches away.)

Let's live in hope, for a while at least, that Obama is a new FDR as it looks like we might need one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So how many bankers will go to jail?

None is a fairly safe prediction.

From Woody Guthrie's Pretty Boy Floyd -

Some will rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen
And as through your life you travel
Yes and through your life you roam
You will never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home

This was written in the thirties during the depression which hopefully the politicians will not let us fall into again. I think it would be a good guess the guilty men will not be punished. The politician will let the guilt slide off them onto the bankers. Below are a few lines pulled off Google which shows why they make such easy targets.

HSBC - Stephen Green, who earns a basic salary of £1.25m a year, will not benefit from the bonus scheme. The bank's chief executive, Mike Geoghegan, could earn as much as 4m in bonuses, on top of his £1m-a-year salary, and up to £7m as part of the bank's long-term incentive plan, according to the proposals.

RBS - Sir Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, earned £4.1m last year, including a bonus for the bank's acquisition of ABN Amro, which the bank now admits it overpaid for.

HBOS - Andy Hornby, the boss of HBOS, earned £1.9m in 2007 but his bank was forced to sell itself to Lloyds TSB last month to avoid going bust.

Lloyds TSB - Lloyds own chief executive, Eric Daniels, was paid £2.4m last year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blair Groupies Now Like Gordon

Yesterday I posted that Mandelson coming back into the cabinet must have meant that the ultra-Blairites had cut a deal with Brown. To add strength to that supposition we have one of the Blairites, George Howarth, on the BBC's website saying that he no longer wants a leadership election. Are there really no Labour MPs that will at least put up a fight, even if just over fear of losing their seats?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Brown and Blair were not the first.

Gordon Brown, and Tony Blair, were not the first Labour leaders to continue Thatcher-like policies after they replaced a Tory leader. In fact Thatcher-like policies didn't start with Thatcher but were a throwback to a much earlier age.

For some reason UK TV is going through a period of re-examining Doctor Richard Beeching's destruction of the postwar nationalized British railways. It's about 45 years since his first report that started the axing of so much of the railway infrastructure. The Wilson government of 1964 continued his policies although in their election statements they said they would save the axed lines.

Beeching was a appointed as the highest paid UK civil servant of the time, 1961, by the conservative Minister of Transport and crook, Ernest Marples. Marples had interests in road building companies that he moved into his wife's name while as Minister of Transport, he did his best to increase road transport and decrease that on rail. He had to live the last few years of his life in the tax shelter of Monaco on the run from the UK tax authorities and various court cases started against him. He was a typical Thacherite conservative long before Thatcher's takeover of the party came about.

The person who most resembles Marples today is actually the US vice-president. I wonder if Dick Cheney will spend the last few years of his life in the tax shelter of Dubai, the new head office town of Haliburton, on the run from the US legal system?

The lesson from the Beeching reports, which led to the closure of 25% of the UK's railway mileage and 50% of the stations, were not learnt by governments up until this day. If you close basic infrastructure for purely economic reasons without taking any public need into account, it is very hard to get it back later. Whether it's railways or national health services, profit should not be the governing force. The needs of the public should have the highest priority.

He's done more for homophobia than Sol Campbell

Well this was unexpected. Probably the most disliked man in any of the previous Blair cabinets shows up once again. I guess it explains why Brown was given an easy time by the Blair groupies at the Labour Party Conference. He's cut a deal to let some of them back into power. No matter what personality clashes there were, it wasn't hard politically as Brown invented the New Labour idea. I see the other Miliband, Ed, also gets promoted.

Any more thoughts of Gordon Brown turning back to old Labour ideals must be now forgotten. It will be unlikely that any real change will be made in the party until he leads them to a terrible defeat, which he is on course to.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Giving up on Frankie

Well my stubborn determination to link to Frankie Valley's old website in the hope he would finally go back to it has finally faded. The link is now to his newer Doctor Kish site. Can't blame him for wanting a life outside of blogging and he and the others who write on Doctor Kish still have the best Charlton site, but maybe one day he will back in all his glory with a daily post on

Charlton Athletic 2-1 Ipswich Town

A win was most needed after a strange run of results. Since my last Charlton post we had lost a home and had an away win, an away draw and an away loss. I will list them below.

Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Charlton Athletic
Nottingham Forest 0-0 Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Crystal Palace 1-0 Charlton Athletic

Of course, it's the last one of those that hurts as we lost to our local rivals for the first time in the best part of a dozen years. Rivalry like that between Charlton and Palace would be very hard for some of the media yuppies, or foreign owners, to understand. When a few seasons back the Charlton crowd cheered as they sent Palace down to the Championship some reporters couldn't understand it. It was because they failed to understand the basic tribal nature of our football in the UK.

Why are Palace so disliked by the likes of Charlton and Millwall? Many would point to the ground-sharing which Charlton did with Palace after they lost their own ground. I suspect it goes a bit deeper. Palace was always more middle class, more suburban, in fact more Croydon than it's more working class neighbours like Millwall in New Cross or the Charlton's Woolwich area.

Let's hope we are playing a bit better on the 27th. January when the reverse fixture takes place. I wonder why both these games are midweek evening games and not at least one over the Christmas and New Year period. I guess the Met need an easy life now.