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If catflap is best Tories can do, no wonder FT Europe imposes blackout

Posted on 5 October 2011 | 7:10am

Greetings from Vienna airport where I am waiting for a plane, worrying about the unseasonal heat, getting irritated by a couple who are kissing their dog like it is a baby, and trying to find a single reference to the Tory Party conference in the Financial Times.

It is the Europe edition, so unsurprisingly leads – again- on the eurozone disaster zone, but surely, in all those crisp pink pages, there must be a reference to this important event in Manchester. But no. Chancellor George Osborne is in a couple of stories, but very much in Chancellor/eurozone mode. I cannot claim to have read every article carefully, but I have had three good scours, and I actually cannot see the word Cameron anywhere in the paper. Odd, on the day of his big speech, especially as according to my media brief, he is talking a lot about credit cards and the economy.

Now the FT has to make its own judgements and there is certainly plenty of news around at the moment. But it is a serious paper with global reach, and I wonder if it says something about the Tory Party conference that it has dropped off the radar.

As things stand, unless David Cameron rescues things, Theresa May’s drivel about a cat and the human rights act is likely to be the most impactful event of the week.

My skills at plugging books will not have escaped your attention before, so may I welcome the fact that the cat which allegedly (I.e not at all) led to an illegal immigrant being allowed to stay is called Maya. This is the title of my novel on the pathology of fame. The story, whilst fictitious, stands up to greater scrutiny than the Home Secretary’s nonsense.

Good on Ken Clarke for putting her in her place. But watch out for Dave coming out with another half-baked attack on the human rights act.

Surely his speech will make all editions of the FT tomorrow. But if the conference main event is a row about a cat, it’s not hard to see why they think eurozone, US-China tensions and the new iphone are more newsworthy than anything happening among the Tory faithful.

  • Robert

    (Mom and dad’s 71st wedding anniversary today. Last year they were apart – this year together again.)

    Under the last Tory government I recall there was debate over adoption of the UN convention on the rights of the child – for example the right of every child to a legally registered name – and which also includes a child’s basic rights to a family life.

    So by suspending that part of the Human Rights Act (the right to a family life) the Tories are suspending the overlap with the UN Convention on the rights of children.

    So the UN Convention on the rights of children will become their next bogeyman. The rights of children obstructing Theresa May every day in her work as minister blah blah blah.

  • Absolutely.  They are obsessed with such a narrow range of issues.  That’s what comes of having lots of MPs with no real life experience.

    Alastair – please can you find out from Tony what’s going on in Palestine?  Have you read this which Michele provided a link to?
    There’s substantial evidence that Israel is rapidly arming the settlers in the West Bank who are then going out and radomly shooting people.

    Russia Today has a lot of information and this Independent article links to others by them.

    Alastair, Are the Israelis going to obliterate the West Bank as they did Gaza no matter what happens next but use whatever happens next as a pretext?

    Alastair I think Tony and the people he is working with are out of their depth.  We need to draw attention of the press to this so we can get clear information about what’s going on and begin to focus the attention of the West properly on it.  The attention of the Arab world is, of course, already there.

  • ambrosian

    It’s been amusing to see the Tories trying to show that they ‘get it’, they ‘feel our pain’, etc.
    Grant Schapps told Radio 5 that because Cameron had cut ministerial salaries by 5% he had had to downgrade his Sky TV package. I’d love to have had more detail on this. Even after the cut, Schapps total salary is £98,740 (Minister of State salary plus MP’s salary), not counting what private wealth he may have from his previous company ownership. What invidious choice was the poor man faced with? Cancelling some movie channels or paying his gas bill perhaps? As my grandmother used to say, it’s enough to make a cat laugh (topical gag).

    Then we had Cameron singling out the freezing of petrol duty to help hard-pressed families. Significant that he chose petrol and not food or household fuel as a key expenditure. A third of the population do not own a car. Certainly the poorest in society couldn’t possibly afford to run a car but presumably they are written off by this Government completely.

    Today a storm is raging because Cameron is to say that people should pay off their credit card debts, though I suspect this will have been considerably altered by the time the speech is delivered. When the BBC’s John Pienaar says this shows how out of touch they are then you know it’s a significant cock-up.
    Most people haven’t the funds to clear their debts and if you do try to pay off the balance and close a credit card account, the company will do everything to dissuade you. I once had a blazing row with a company who were effectively telling me I was stupid for trying to cancel a credit card. And it’s well known that these companies hate customers who clear the balance every month because they make no money from them.

    Furthermore, this Government refuses to do anything about those unscrupulous credit companies at the margins who charge astronomical interest rates to the poorest, refusing to put any kind of cap on interest rates that can be charged.

    Meanwhile, the indebtedness of small businesses is to be underwritten by the Government. They are hounding the unemployed with ever more draconian measures but if some Del Boy start-up comes along and borrows a million from a bank, the Government will guarantee the loan. If said Del Boy then goes bust (and thousands of small businesses go bust every year, especially in a recession) then the taxpayer picks up the bill for a million quid. Is this what the Tories mean by a small, non-interventionist state? And if they don’t want banks that are “too big to fail” and need bailing out, why is it all right for the taxpayer to bail out small businesses and pay off their debts?

  • Olli Issakainen

    It is irresponsible for David Cameron to claim that he has a plan that will work. The truth is that the world will NEVER recover from the recession of 2008-09 under the current neoliberal system. We need moral economy based on
    fairness to distribute wealth more evenly to avoid a collapse of capitalism.
    There is no purpose in plan A of the Tory-led government.
    All that it will achieve is to make public debt private again.
    Average family debt will be £77,000 by 2015 thanks to cuts and job losses.
    Debt as percentage of household income increases from 160% in 2010 to 175% in 2015, or to £2,126bn.
    Because of George Osborne´s austerity people must borrow more to maintain their living standards which take 10% drop thanks to cuts.
    So Mr Osborne´s “celebrated” plan A totally fails its aim of rebalancing the British economy.
    All the cuts and pain are for nothing!
    Government debt interest payment will rise to £67.2bn by 2014/15.
    David Cameron said in 2010 that without deep and early cuts debt interest would rise to £70bn.
    So the austerity package does nothing to the debt interest, either!
    In all probabilty the cuts will only make things worse as in the eurozone.
    People should realise that government cannot cut a penny from the deficit. It can only cut its own EXPENDITURE, and then hope that the rest of the economy reacts in a favourable way.
    Much of the structural deficit (the part that does not go away when economy recovers) must be eliminated.
    But growth is the best way to reduce deficit, not drastic cuts.
    If you cut government expenditure too early and too much, the cyclical part of deficit can increase.
    Messrs Cameron and Osborne believe that government should only guarantee low interest rates and low inflation, and leave the rest to the markets.
    That is why they have no plan for growth. They believe that it is the job of central bank and private sector to provide it.
    But private sector cannot produce growth unaided.
    Government spending and tax cuts are the only way of achieving recovery.
    Free market economy does not automatically guarantee growth.
    According to Keynes macroeconomic system may never attain equilibrium.
    Hayekian Osborne believes that macroeconomic equlibrium will be restored through free operation of markets.
    Just balance the budget, and economy will automatically balance.
    But Keynes said that not all sections of macroeconomy need to be in balance at the same time.
    And that economy is in need of MANAGEMENT to correct imbalancies.
    Osborne supported Labour´s spending plans till October 2008. He wanted even less regulation on the City. Then he got the recession completely wrong.
    Now he is getting the recovery completely wrong.
    As for the claim that Labour should have regulated the City better, it is always a new instrument (this time subprime crisis) that causes the crash.
    So more regulation would not have prevented the crisis. And at the slightest hint of regulation, the City fat cats threaten to leave for Switzerland or Hong Kong.
    In 2006, the total output of the world was $47,000bn. Total value of stock markets $51,000bn.
    But the amount of money tied to derivatives was $473,000bn! ($684,000bn in 2008.)
    So the risks are astronomical, and thus complex financial instruments should be banned.
    Mr Osborne claims that if he changes plan A, markets will lose confidence and interest rates will rise.
    Recent events in both the UK and the US do not back this. When there was fiscal stimulus in the UK, interest rates were falling.
    Anyway, the shrinkage of the economy is bigger problem and rising interest rates.
    Mr Osborne believes that the 2.5% yield on 10-year government bond is a vote of confidence in his austerity policy. But, in truth, it is a sign of economic weakness as investors do not have any safe place to put their money.
    British businesses have £60bn in cash, but are not investing as Mr Osborne has killed the growth and confidence.
    George Osborne does not understand that we are not living in the 1980s. Inflation is lower than under Thatcher, so there is room to STIMULATE growth.
    When will Mr Osborne announce his plan B?

    Ps. Larry Elliott says that no one knows what happens next. I disagree. I predicted the current economic crisis months ago. Next Greece will go bust. I predicted this in the spring when the European leaders and Eurocrats denied even the possibility. After Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy will collapse. Italy will cause a crash in Europe. The US will also collapse. A lot of banks will also collapse. As predicted in the Bible, after the economic collapse there will be one-world government and a single world currency. The world´s most powerful banker has said that we are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is a major crisis and the nations will accept New World Order, he added. If you do not believe me or the Bible, believe this man. This major crisis has now arrived!

  • MarkM

    Will this be the reality of fixed terms – mid cycle political events become less important?

  • PeterC

    Hi Alistair here’s one you may have missed and may have enjoyed. Just heard Oliver Letwin leading an QA on the aged at the Tory conference. He refers to them as “silver haired” (how sweet and patronising) and suggests that they should be looked at an as “economic opportunity rather than as a burden on the state”.
    Well this silver hair believes that my pension was earned from a life time of  hard work and resent most strongly at being regarded as a burden on the state. As regards being regarded as an economic opportunity, is he really serious or was this just a Freuedian slip. So to all you silver hairs watch out you may be part of their undisclosed Plan B.

  • The conference got some coverage on Russia Today.  Here it is:                                              

  • Isn’t it wonderful…(sing to the tune of the famous Stevie Wonder hit)…to have the Tories making such a singular, negative impact on the world from the confines of their very own, planned, manicured and, surely, perfect conference?

    Gone are the heady days of Tony’s sweaty shirt – oh, how I long for such passion, such verve, such commitment…all these political men in suits and lady’s in heels, just isn’t getting to the nub of the country’s need at all.

    Or have I missed something…a special message to help me understand, trust and support HM Govt?

    Thought not.

  • Richard

    Having been away, I have just read Red Ed’s speech. Er, um did you write it Al?
    Most sentences contain 3 to 7 words. Most rules of grammar have been ignored.

    And let me tell you, if this Government fails to deal with
    the deficit in this Parliament, we are determined to do so.

    You’ve been told all growth is the same, all ways of doing
    business are the same.

    But it’s not


    If we were in government now, we’d be cutting the costs of
    going to university from a maximum of £9,000 to £6,000.”
    Does he mean per annum, including living costs? Vote Labour, kids.
    So before we all settle down to have  a good scoff at what Cameron says in his speech, read Ed’s, digest and let us have a good debate on Education standards!
    A good read!

  • Chris lancashire

    I thought you were supposed to be a media man? So the FT Europe edition carried very little on Osborne/Cameron. Well neither diid the FT US edition this weekend. And guess why – the FT is a global newspaper and therefore caters for its respective audiences. What a completely pointless piece.

  • NickSmeggHead

    The UK economy grew only by 0.1% between April and June –
    IMF now saying delay the cuts….

    Maybe the Tories on this site might like to comment on this?

  • Chris lancashire

    Rebecca – ALL MPs with just a very few exceptions on all sides have no real life experience. The present Parliament – on all sides – is full of professional politicians who haven’t a clue about the real world. Remember with affection the days when businessmen, trade unionists and army officers were elected after they’d done a real job.

  • Max Headroom

    Olli, you talk such sense, trying not to be a sycophant, I agree with almost every word you’ve printed and definitely the logicand overall theme  in your writing, why though, do so many people not see it your way?  Why are tey are falling for Osbourne/Cameron spin and swallowing all this Plan A & no deviation rhetoric?  Surely the best financial whizkids and academia can see Olli’s view or is this all a huge conspiracy to fool the majority of citizens whilst the super rich keep all that loverly lolly?  £100k and you’ve lost some Sky channels?  My sky went three years ago when “Dave” threatened to freeze my salary and cut my job.  Fortunately I’ve still got my job but pay freeze is certainly biting.  Good job Gordon Brown got CS pay up a bit, as I’ve had to stop pouring Champagne down the sink since my wage freeze.  £25k doesn’t buy much champagne these days “Dave” but how would you know?

  • GJ

    New World Order? The Bible, predicted it? Gings! Cribbens! Help, M’boab! Olli, what has happened to you? 

    To suggest that ‘we were warned’ hundreds of years ago, by the authors of the biblical text, is where we part company, I’m afraid. You have some interesting things to say on the economy, when they are backed up with evidence, but this idea of prophetic sacred texts, is way too-far-out for even me. Nostradamus, springs to mind  ;chill-out brother!

  • Ehtch

    Excellent clip Rebecca, thanks. Manchester united of another kind. Missed that on UK news, because I was half-cut after watching the World Cup rugger from NZ on telly early last Sunday morning. Any idea how it was covered by the UK media last Sunday/Monday?

    Ah yes I see, that is how it was covered, have found some links,

  • ZintinW4

    I am not shocked by May or Cameron’s position on the HRA. Nor am I shocked to hear proposals that the cost of going to Employment Tribunals is going up. I am angry though. The one reason why I have a pathological dislike of the Tories is that they are collectively a mean spirited bunch. Nothing in their psyche enables them to see that there are sometimes minor problems with legislation but the bigger issue is the fact that too few people know about their rights at work, their rights to fairness, etc. Look at their position on welfare reform where the starting point is that people claiming benefit have it too easy. This is the kind of nonesense espoused by Old Etonians and then pumped out to turn people against each other by the right wing media.But it a perpesctive born out of a mean-spirited view towards other people.

    I hope the Tory conference isn’t remembered for a stupid cat story, I hope people look at it and see the true nature of these malicous and spiteful class warriors who seemed determined to reward their own whilst grinding everybody else into the dirt.

  • ambrosian

    Ah yes, that’s what we want: diabetic cats driving at 80 mph whilst sniffing highlighter pens!
    Has Dave been back on the wacky baccy that got him ‘gated’ at Eton when he was 15?

  • Ehtch

    If your a betting person, prepare and put money on for a huge fall in the footsie by the end of October, with attendant following disastrous consequences. The FTSE is yo-yoing all over the shop already in recent weeks. It’ll just take another international financial adverse event or two for it to plummet like a stone.

  • Quinney

    Great pun Ally, Vienna was the name of Rigsby’s cat in Rising Damp.

  • Gilliebc

    Rebecca, I don’t think TB and his colleagues are out of their depth.  Quite the contrary imo.  I think they know exactly what they are doing.  And that is the problem.
    Please see my post in reply to yours on the previous thread.

  • Gilliebc

    Many other people have also made this prediction Olli.

    It’s supposed to appear “accidental” i.e. a series of unfortunate calamities that will lead to a One World Government eventually.

    There is nothing accidental about it.  The power crazy wealthy (hidden) ruling elite have been planning this for over 100 years.

    The world is not being run in the way we have all been led to believe.  Far from it, in fact.  A person does not even have to be a Christian or in any way religious to see what’s really going on now.

    No one can say they haven’t been warned.  Whether they get their information from the Bible or any other source, the warnings are clear and very real.

  • Ehtch

    hint – keep an eye on Belgium and its banks…

  • Gilliebc

    Many congratulations to your mom and dad, Robert.  That’s a wonderful achievement.  I guess they must both be in their 90’s at least!

    I agree with the rest of your post too, btw 🙂

  • Rebecca Hanson

    Chris I live near Scotland, where the SNP has wiped the floor with all the other political parties because it has deliberately selected candidates who have both substantial life experience and the ability to command the respect of the professional classes.  I don’t have to remember – if I go outside I can see it!

  • Rebecca Hanson

    Found it – yes I’d missed it because of the indentation – thanks for the prompt.  It’s would be really great if you could bring your thoughts to the TED thread and explore them there.  

    What’s emerged there is the view that the only solution is a coherent imposed solution which must be done rapidly and must involve settlement clearance.  But the reports show that the Israelis are arming rapidly and attacking Palestinians on the West Bank.  

    No I don’t know about Tony’s personal views.  I assumed he had the level of intelligence which makes it inevitable that he will see all perspectives and work effectively towards a coherent solution as he did in Northern Ireland.  The boundaries of what a coherent solution could be are so tiny it gives little room for personal preference.  Am I wrong?  Links, information, insight all very welcome here or on TED.

  • Gilliebc

    Yes that’s right Quinney.  I didn’t make that particular connection when I was reading AC’s blog post, because I was so distracted by that song “Oh Vienna” which I was replaying in the back of my mind at that time.  I think it was by Ultravox, but I could be wrong.  I do remember that Midge Ure was the singer though.

    Computers, good as they are, do not compare to the weird complexities of the human mind, which often throws up completely unexpected memories
    all without the aid of a search engine 🙂

  • Catastrophising is part of my anxiety/depression thing.
    Conspiracy theories are very easily sought yet reality is oft times far more mundane, I’m afraid.
    I don’t know. I doubt I could have insight enough ever to know.
    Bildiberg, ZOG it’s just too Kafkaesque for my humdrum , dreary day

  • Rebecca Hanson

    It’s interesting to see how it was projected through the media as being an anti-cuts rally.  That sadly makes it easy to ignore.

    It was interesting being there – I was expecting something like the rally I was at in June which was intelligent, friendly and has no extremist elements.  The only way to really diagnose the mood was to talk to people, as the media was of course picking up on the standard socialist worker chants which very few people joined in.

    The reason most people were there is the sheer ignorance of policy in the public sector.  If there was any link between what those proposing them are saying the economic consequences of the cuts would be and reality many of us wouldn’t have been there.  We know intelligent and fiscally responsible planning is needed.  Unfortunately what’s not needed is extremist and ignorant right wing policy which will not have economically efficient consequences disguised as this.  But large chunks of the conservative party are so inexperience in life and politics they honestly believe it will work….. 

    Unfortunately the important message doesn’t translate into a mass media friendly chant.  

    Any advice Alastair?

  • Olli Issakainen

    I have just been reading about a single world currency.
    In May 2010 Dominique Strauss-Kahn of IMF called for a new global currency issued by a global central bank.
    In 1988 the Economist wrote that there will be a global currency before 2018.
    In 2000 Paul Volcker of the Federal Reserve said that a single world currency makes sense.
    In October 2008 Gordon Brown called for a new Bretton Woods with IMF as a global central bank.
    China wants the creation of a global currency controlled by IMF replacing the US dollar as the world´s reserve currency.
    The US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said that “we´re actually quite open” to China´s suggestion.
    In 2009 a UN panel of economists suggested about a new global currency reserve that would replace the US dollar.
    Following April 2009 G20 summit it was announced that it was agreed to support a general SDR (Special Drawing Rights) allocation meaning synthetic paper currency issued by IMF.
    The Telegraph wrote after this that G20 is putting a world currency into play.
    April 2010 IMF report says that a global currency is an option.
    As for the one-world government, Gideon Rachman wrote in the FT in February 2008 that he thinks that the formation of some sort of world government in plausible.
    Denis Healey admitted in 2001 (see the Guardian 10 March 2001) that the Bilderberg Group feels that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.
    Senator Jesse Helms told the US Senate in 1987 who are behind the one-world government programme.
    The main protagonist of the New World Order admitted in his Memoirs (2002, page 405) that he is conspiring with others to create a more integrated political and economic structure – one world.
    His right-hand man is the former Secretary of State of the US.
    So I am afraid we are not talking about conspiracy theory here.

  • My thinking entirely – and much more like it. If the people in the street had the right information instead of burying their noses in celeb culture (wolves in sheep’s clothing), we’d have real revolt on our hands…not just opportunist T shirt nicking.

  • Ehtch

    London/Wapping/Shepherds Bush is a long way from Manchester, isn’t it? And anything that happens away from said places is treated as newsworthy fluff, just to fill the pages or airtime.

    But it is nice to see beeb staff getting their knickers in a twist with this move of departments to Salford. Quite amusing it is. 

  • Gareth

    Reading this has reminded of an old Rick Mayall comedy called ‘Filthy Rich and Catflap’. Would make a good title for a documentary about the Tories.

  • Those of use who are posting info about Palestine are now finding that our computers won’t start up.  Deep errors in the root drive.  It seems we’re not supposed to post links to this:
    or to mention that the population density is Gaza is over 10 000 per square mile
    or even to suggest that there are Palestinian people or that Palestine has a history.

  • OH read and Evening Standard article about the horrors and inhumanity of being forced to move to Manchester.  We chucked.  You have to have lived in the London bubble to believe it (I have).

  • OH read and Evening Standard article about the horrors and inhumanity of being forced to move to Manchester.  We chucked.  You have to have lived in the London bubble to believe it (I have).

  • Quinney

    Yeh, the classic by Ultravox, kept off the number one slot by that awful “shuddup your face”……a travesty.

  • chuckled not chucked!