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Osborne should avoid the weekend press – unless he wants to learn from his failure as a strategist

Posted on 7 July 2012 | 11:07am

George Osborne is an avid reader of his press cuttings, but his advisers may well be tempted to get him away to a newspaper free zone this weekend.

The Chancellor still has plenty of admirers in the media – not least those at The Spectator who helped him prime his grenade attack on Ed Balls, only to play it all down when it blew up in their pal’s face. But the general judgement is that his star is perhaps fatally on the wane.

The credibility of a Chancellor is all important and when a paper as respected in economic and global political circles as the Financial Times joins others in saying he has demeaned his office, that has impact that goes beyond the Westminster village. And so do the murmurings and mutterings of his colleagues on the government benches.

The remaining admirers continue to peddle the line that he is a master strategist, despite the fact that he was the political strategist of the election campaign which failed to deliver a majority when the goal was fairly wide, and the economic strategist masterminding a deficit reduction plan that isn’t working, instead becoming the author of a double dip recession he said would never happen.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries, as I shall never tire of reminding people, said the government’s problem was that it was run by two arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.

The arrogance and the poshness, though they may grate with many members of the public, tend to be forgiven by Tory MPs provided competence is clear.

But Arrogant Posh Boy 1 is continuing to show himself as a very good technical communicator on a day by day basis, setting out one urgent priority after another, but a very bad leader in the sense that there is no clear or coherent plan for what he wants to do with power.

And Arrogant Posh Boy 2 has now added to the sense of ineptitude in his handling of the Budget – pensioners cock-up, pasty cock-up, charities cock-up, figures cock-up – confirmation of what was troubling MPs about him; that he is all political tactics when his job should be economic strategy.

I cannot think of any occasion in the past when a senior minister, of either side, has stood up in the Commons and made accusations against an opponent without any evidence at all. I can think of plenty of times when accusations have been over ventilated, exaggerated, but literally none when the claim is based on nothing at all.

As he chillaxes at whatever country retreat he has chosen for the weekend, he should try to learn a few lessons from recent days. But I wonder if he is temperamentally suited so to do.

On the day of the Osborne-Balls slanging match, it led the news bulletin I saw. Followed by the news that the Bank of England was printing another £35bn in the latest ‘Quantitive easing’, once described by Osborne as a sure sign of failure.

The economic failure is becoming clearer by every day of the DDR (used to be East Germany, now the double dip recession). The political failure is clearer too. All because Osborne is a failure at strategy, which was meant to be his strong point.

  • ambrosian

    That Osborne quote in full: “Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed.”
    He said it in 2009.
    2012: £375 Billion printed, and counting.
    Nuff said.

  • Hi Alastair – Steve Richards used the word ‘tactician’ not ‘strategist’ this morning. It’s really important to make this distinction I feel in management, and I happen to think Steve is absolutely correct. PS Loved ‘Burden of Power’ and ‘The Happy Depressive’ (audiobook) r/v for Amazon to be done finally tonight. Take care.

  • Anonymous

    Oh come off it!

    Having followed Alastair for some time now, I’ve now decided what his most annoying habit is, shared with a lot of politicos and journos.

    It is… trying to make a big deal out of a small deal. With Alastair its announcing the certain end of the government, the certain death of Osborne, Cameron, Clegg or whoever. Oh please. If any of these things were capable of killing a politician, then Ed Balls, the man with the dirtiest hands in the biggest economic disaster this country has seen for at least 80 years, would have no career. No one in parliament has presided over a regulatory regime that allowed a financial crisis on this scale. But he managed to be a Labour leadership candidate and shadow chancellor after this. Yet Granny tax or whatever is going to do for Osborne? Puh-lease! Be realistic man!

    Other examples of this trait in politicos and journos are the eurosceptics who proudly announce the certain death of the euro, the certain exit of Greece etc… Puh-lease! If idiotic policy and financial disaster and suffering populations could kill the euro it would have been dead years ago!

    I am sure the same people were saying that the recession in 81 would be the end of thatcher, the poll tax the end of the tories etc etc. Really… its all so much small beer.

  • Anonymous

    Well said Alastair.

    I’m an avid reader of the political blogosphere, including a lot of the Tory websites. Don’t ask why, it just makes me feel better about myself.

    What is striking is that this realisation about Osborne’s ineptitude is clearly not just in the mind of the media or Labour. There are hundreds if not thousands of comments by good old-fashioned swirly-eyed Tories berating, criticising and attacking Osborne on usually loyal blogs – including the Spectator.

    Osborne is finished, in all but the eyes of Cameron. Could I be brave enough to suggest that another of this government’s strategic weaknesses is Cameron’s inability to sack loyal friends (of which most his cabinet is made up of)? Strategy needs to be aligned with people and because Dave would never dump on a chum – he’ll keep Osborne in Number 11 rather than get someone who could do the job in.

  • Anonymous

    Talking of milk, farmers are threatening to dump milk, since the price they are paid per litre has been cut. Yes, cut?!? Can anyone make sense of that? Thought the farming community on general is thought to be fairly Tory. Are you listening DC and GO? I don’t think so somehow.

    Just wait for milk being dumped over fields, and the sour whiff in the air near DC’s and GO’s country piles before they do something.

    Story here,

  • Michele

     Secretary of State for Children,

    Schools and Families

    In office

    28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010

  • I think this will be seen as a turning point for Osborne.

    It is clear now that he is not suited for high office. I had sort of suspected that he was really inappropriate but his actions have fulfilled the worst suspicions.

    His previous press activities have been frequently, I think, rather odd. The blaming the weather for economic downturn and suchlike.

    His endless blaming of Labour for everything always seemed extremely small minded as well as being just plain wrong of course. That “blame Labour” tactic/strategy has done the Conservatives a great deal of harm. It has been a bit of a joke for a long while now.

    For some reason Osborne doesn’t seem to be capable of seeing the bigger world outside of his own. He doesn’t understand that other people don’t share the outlook he has. Osborne doesn’t seem to see that other people are intelligent with an ability to think and assess all on their own.

    Osborne’s “blaming the weather”, “blaming Labour” etc etc illustrates that he must not understand that people will not take these things on face value as he wishes them to.

    When Osborne made his allegations he must not have realised how this would be read or interpreted. I don’t think he is stupid, but there is some sort of blindness in this area.

    He is totally inappropriate for Chancellor. It would be best for the UK if he would go as soon as possible. However that isn’t going to happen. Cameron I guess will want to keep him partially because if Osborne goes, then Cameron would be next. The pair of them seem to be thought of almost as if they are a single entity, it is difficult to think of one without the other.

    It will benefit Labour that Osborne is perceived as a problem by so many people, including many within the Conservative party. No doubt some internal discipline will come in for now in the party saying that all must be supportive of Osborne, but that can only last for a limited period of time.

  • Dave Simons

    The farming community is generally Tory and its members like to think of themselves as independent, ruggedly individualistic and hard-working people, on who the rest of us depend for our food. The reality is that the farming industry has been heavily subsidised by the taxpayer since 1945 – not just small hill farmers who couldn’t survive without subsidy, but slightly larger ‘farmers’ like the Duke of Westminster – the ones educated at Cirencester – who could survive. When it’s steel, coal, shipbuilding and car-manufacturing, the Tories talk about ‘lame ducks’, but they’ve never treated farming like that because so many of them are landowners, if not farmers. Struggling farmers – the smaller ones – would help themselves if they learned the ABC of PR and stopped being so grumpy, selfish and mean towards the people who keep them in business – tax-paying members of the Ramblers’ Association, for instance. They should also direct their protests at the big supermarket chains, not at consumers. They might be surprised to find the general public on their side for a change.

  • Mark Wright

    Now that the Higgs Boson particle has been discovered scientists have now established that the most elusive particle known to mankind is George Osborne in a TV studio on the day of his latest budget U-turn.

    Has anybody actually told him that television has even been invented? He does seem to live in a world based on the 1890’s after all.

  • Anonymous

    Not quite nuff said, the question then is do you agree that printing money is the last resort of desperate governments? I know I do! But if you agree with this then you must recognise that Labour/Brown/Balls/Darling are responsible for 200 of the 375 Billion!

    So there is no way to criticise one party without criticising the other. Most labour people seem to have been brainwashed into thinking the QE done by Brown was fine, I am sure older labour figures are turning in their graves at the damage this will do to the working mans wages.

    But those who thought it was fine when Brown was doing QE, cannot criticise Osbo for doing it now.

    Whereas those of us who think QE should be a crime, much worse than Libor ringing, can stay on our high horses and say they are two terrible terrible governments.

  • Janiete

    I had thought that Nadine Dorries’ words ‘arrogant’ and ‘posh’ were apt in relation to Cameron and Osborne. But Osborne’s appalling behaviour over the last week has proved beyond any doubt, that her inclusion of the word ‘boys’ was just as accurate.
    We’ve all witnessed their juvenile tendency on show in the House when Cameron throws around childish insults as a substitute for political argument, much to the amusement of his smirking sidekick. Oh how they laughed when Denis Skinner was told to retire, Steve Rotheram was ridiculed for having a Liverpudlian accent, and when a gay shadow minister, Chris Bryant, was referred to as a pantomime dame. Just why they think such behaviour is appropriate from a Prime Minister and Chancellor is beyond me, and I should think millions of people in the UK and abroad look on in disbelief.Osborne has hit a new low in hurling baseless allegations, which apart from being rather nasty and juvenile, was unbelievably stupid. In any walk of life he couldn’t hope to walk away unscathed. Having basically slandered an opponent, legal action, or in less polite company, a black eye was the least he could expect. I suspect the political damage he has brought on himself will be significant and lasting.   These are serious times and we need serious leadership, not a pair of overgrown schoolboys, playing puerile and malicious games, abusing the high office they hold and demonstrating how incapable they are of addressing the needs of the country. Roll on 2015!     

  • Michele

     ” ………………..But those who thought it was fine when Brown was doing QE, cannot criticise Osbo for doing it now………………. ”

    But that is NOT what he is being criticised for is it?
    Try reading ambrosian’s post again and thinking about its words.
    Easy as pie.

  • Totally agree ^^

  • Dave Simons

    Surely you can criticise Osborne for doing QE after he criticised Brown for doing it? I think what we are criticising is hypocrisy and opportunism, not QE. It’s the same hypocrisy and opprtunism that drives Osborne to criticise Ed Balls and Brown for light-touch regulation when he and his party up to 2007 were asking for less, not more, regulation, and he and his party instigated deregulation in the first place.

  • Dave Simons

    The trouble with ‘Roll on 2015’ is that, as things are at present, Labour is going to lose and land us with another five years of possibly pure Toryism. That would effectively be ten years and we’re still recovering from the previous eighteen.

  • Nick

    In many years of observing confrontations and squabbles in the commons it can sometimes be seen that after the event the combatants sort of get on and have some mutual respect.In the case of Ed Balls V Osborne I detect a certain deep dislike of each other.Ed Balls has certainly got under Posh boy 2’s skin and it is begining to come out in the sort of attacks we saw last week.Ed has now managed to isolate Osborn into a corner like a wounded animal.Any remnants of credibility have now gone and it is just a matter of time before Vince Cable moves in for the kill !!.

  • Michele

    It all seems so long ago doesn’t it?

    It apparently seems even longer to Daniel Hannan, who told Diane Abbott this weekend that after ’40yrs’  it’s time for her to stop naming Thatcher re the state of our industries.

  • Anonymous

    And what was he doing before that? Can one not advise people on economic strategy or political strategy whilst carrying out another role?

    Isn’t the main attack on Osborne, from his “own side” that he only devotes 40% max of his time to his actual brief, ie economics and chancellory, and the other 60% to political plotting and “strategy” hence they are all saying he should either be made chancellor or chairman, focus on the economy or on political strategy.

    I really feel there is enough ammunition to attack the tories, and enough ways to defend Labour, and yes even Mr Balls, without this sort of angle – no one in the Labour blogosphere claims that Balls was anything less than hugely influential, in a desired way, with Mr Brown, and indeed with Mr Blair to a much lesser degree and in a less desired fashion.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, I genuinely meant to add another paragraph saying that of course it is fine to attack Osborne for his rank hypocrisy – but only if you also agree that money printing is “the last resort of a desperate government” (it is) otherwise if you think money printing is a good thing surely you would only welcome a prodigal son.

    For example when Max Hastings very publicly declared last year that he had been wrong all this time, and that the EU and the Euro had turned out to be a total calamity just as many had been saying all along, they didn’t all go “Ha ha Hastings, you loser” etc rather they welcomed his change of opinion. If Osborne’s attackers had anything other than vacuous, tabloid led, political point scoring in mine then I believe they would take the same approach. I challenge all of you who commented on it to tell me: is QE a good thing or not, I do you think Brown and Osborne (who pursue identical policy) have done the right thing, or the wrong thing.

    I am quite clear, they are both morons, and in Reaguns Britain any politician who deliberately created inflation (which is what QE is) and thereby reduced the value of the citizens wages and savings, ie committed theft as these wages and savings are diverted to the government surreptitiously, that politician would be taken to the tower.

    I agree re the hypocrisy over light touch regulation. Perhaps you can all see my point better thinking about that. I suspect you are all clear that light touch regulation is wrong under the tories and you might even admit you thought it was wrong under labour?

    I of course am well aware that a narrative can pass the point of correction in the public mind, as groupthink takes hold and wrong is the new right. After all that is how we got into the mess, when Brown had delivered permanent economic stability, an end to boom and bust, permanently low interest rates, and we could all just get rich as our houses were sure to increase in value for ever more. I said that was all wrong. And I say this narrative is all wrong too.

    Regulation will not stop the next crash, you mark my words. Only a punishment mechanism will stop crashes. Regulation, no matter how tough, will always be beaten by bankers. The only thing that can punish bankers is market discipline and jail. market discipline is far harsher, thats the one that moves them from ferrari to fiesta. Regulation caused this crisis. Regulation created the morasl hazard that ensured we would bail out bankers and therefore let them gamble. No regulation and they would have to take their own losses, therefore they wouldn’t have gambled.

  • Anonymous

    Read my reply to Dave. Essentially, Ambrosian, and everyone else, is criticising Osbo for hypocrisy, which some of us can rightly do, but not those who are being hypocrites themselves whilst doing it! Same question to you, do you believe in QE or not?

  • Anonymous

    Meant to add, do you believe in QE or not, if you don’t believe in it then Gordon Brown is a moron, if you do believe in it then Osborne is not a moron.

  • Anonymous

    Just to add, obviously Alastair’s motive is to try to feed a narrative of Osborne’s star waning, Osborne on the way out and all that, and you can’t blame him for trying, though I personally would prefer data rather than narrative, facts rather than, I’m afraid this is a perfect example: Spin.

    The journos have a different motive. It suits them better to say Osbone is a star for a few months, then attack him for being on his way out for a few months, then announce a dramatic recovery for the next leadership election, because this sells more papers ie saying he is a genius, then a moron, then a genius again, rather than just telling the truth which is that he has been uniformly average.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with the first part of that, not sure about your recipe for relief for small farmers though.

    Mr Benn explained the concept rather well here from about 2mins onwards:

    But yes, the least capitalist and most socialised industry in this country is farming. Now… I don’t think it is really fair to blame the Tories as this is entirely due to EU policy, therefore parties take blame to the extent that you hold them responsible for joining and staying in the EU.

    But if I could change one law in the UK… well ok that would be to have a shoot to kill policy on heroin dealers, but my next law would be to get rid of the CAP.

    Despite considering myself an arch capitalist, I can see the social and indeed strategic reasons for a certain type of subsidy for farmers (and could with mining villages too, even Enoch Powell did.)

    But this subsidy should only ever go to the small farmers and should only ever be so that small farmers do not starve, do not have to sell up to big farmers, do not have to leave farming (and lose those skills.) I used to live in an area where there were many such small farmers, and they were grateful for the CAP/Single Farm Payment, because they knew no better. But they also knew that big farmers, not just the Earls and Dukes who get hundreds of thousands of subsidy, or Nestle who get 10s of millions, but local large farmers swan around like lords themselves, getting grants of over 100,000 per year. They get proportionally more than the small farmers because they can more easily acquite land, crops, sheep, cows as the payments fluctuate towards one or other. This is disgraceful. Those men should be capped at say £12000 (minimum wage.) If they can make another 90,000 on top of that, so be it off their own bat, otherwise the lowly farm hands who work for them should be the ones subsidised directly to the tune of minimum wage, or indeed have a new zealand type system where young people with no land can use a government scheme to work for a big farmer but be paid in land and stock. Then we’d see some market forces, some help for the small man instead of the big man.

  • Anonymous

    Just want to congratulate Ed Miliband on his call to break up the banks. He is not the first, but this is a very good sign of his intellect.

    He is now starting to develop a few weapons with which to use against the Tories. This banking one, and his recent excellent immigration speech, his predator vs producer, his anti murdoch stance, I now feel like he is holding a few big knives with which he could potentially stab David Cameron, the problem is he has to make sure he doesn’t stab himself with his inward pointing knives such as his euro enthusiasm etc.

  • Anonymous

    Why 2015? These 5 year parliaments need to be ended, of course the politicos want them but the people should reserve the right to boot-em-out whenever.

  • Michele

     Nobody needs to agree with Osbo at all that ……. “only if you also agree that money printing is “the last resort of a desperate government” (it is)”…..
    until  he admits it himself.

    Try some logic.

  • Michele

    Qualify your question properly, don’t use the butch act on me, it’s getting so bloody tedious, droog.

  • Michele

     Look it up for yourself, as his first role in Govt it was hardly likely to qualify your use of

    ……. “Ed Balls, the man with the dirtiest hands in the biggest economic
    disaster this country has seen for at least 80 years, would have no

    Think I’m wrong?
    So explain it, explain what you KNOW, explain what right you have for your constant over-acting melodramatic performances. 
    Think you’re in rehearsal for PMQs or something?

  • Michele

     ofgs ‘These 5yr parliaments’ have never been sworn to before …….. and worse …. Clegg has aided and abetted by annynce-ing for his boss that NCV is no longer about a simple majority.

    The word ‘poodle’ was used about a man that could hardly tell Dubbya exactly why he had run himself ragged to get a coalition ….. the word is SO apt for Clegg.   What a dolt.

  • Janiete

    I very much hope you are wrong there Dave and to be honest I don’t see the reason for your pessimism. Of course it’s important not to take opinion polls too seriously, we fell for that in the early 80s, but Labour is building steadily for the next election. 

    I didn’t support Ed M for leader but he has started to impress me. His performances in the HOC are more confident and on the whole I think he is striking the right tone. On all the big calls he has got the better of Cameron and I feel confident about Labour’s future.

  • Janiete

    Why 2015? Because this is a democracy and that will be the next chance we will get to choose our government. No point hoping the LibDems will do the right thing. They know they will be almost wiped out at the next election anyway so they will hang onto their bit of power for as long as possible.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, the plot thickens! Mr Ed Balls apparently was on Marr (must watch it) calling for the govt to implement Vickers faster, to get more banks, more new banks set up with branches on the streets!

    May I join all Mr Balls many fans on here on congratulating Mr Balls on this 100% correct stance!

    And may I join a much smaller group who will recognise that this is exactly what the right wing of the Tory party have been recommending, for example John Redwood.

    Just goes to show, all the solutions come from left or right, and are often the same, all the problems come from the crony corporatist centrists ie Cameron.

  • Rburns

    Well I’m not sure if it qualifies as “data”, but I can assure you that the pinions of Cameron and Osborne expressed by my grassroots Tory activist acquaintances are very far from positive. Quite insulting in fact.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but do you agree that it would be better if we were not limited to 5 year terms for unsatisfactory governments? You just think that the lib dems will not do the decent thing and allow an early election?

  • Anonymous

    “The word ‘poodle’ was used about a man that could hardly tell Dubbya exactly why he had run himself ragged to get a coalition ” Care to elaborate on this bit?

    I don’t think Blair was a poodle. I think people think he had a thatcher/churchill complex and wanted to define himself with a war, therefore: war in Iraq. Don’t these “dolts” understand that he already had a war! Afghanistan! A war that no sensible person could argue about the reasons for.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha, where was this conversation? I’d like to see it. I think Daniel Hannan is easily the most impressive of the Tories. If he was the leader of a big party, I think he’d pulverise Cameron. Unfortunately he is a right winger and unwanted in the modern centrist Tory party, his only hope is leading Ukip and they already have a more charismatic, if less principled, leader.

  • Anonymous

    I do not need to look anything up, I read the Tory and the Labour blogosphere (though admittedly as Alastair says Tories are more active in that sphere) and I have read plenty of Labour people talk about how Balls was one of the main advisors to Brown, and the architect of the regulatory system. Now I don’t accept that, Brown was too much of a control freak to delegate such a task, and also Brown could rightly feel that he was better placed to design such a system than anyone else he had on his team. If Brown was still involved in politics (and don’t pretend he is) then I would have said he had the dirtiest hands, but as he isn’t, I’d have to agree with Hezza, the plan I am talking of “It wasn’t Brown… it was Balls!”

  • Anonymous

    Try some yourself – you will make a decision now. You will either ignore my challenge, you will either admit you cannot answer my question by not replying, by not answering, or you will surprise the hell out of me by telling me if you agree with QE or not?

    If you agree with QE, then you agree with Osborne’s policy and Brown’s policy.

    If you oppose it, then you are saying that Brown was wrong.

    Get out of that one. This is the second trap I’ve set that no one on this site can escape. I feel like that dude in 50 shades of grey now…

  • Anonymous

    Very simple question, do you agree with QE or not. Yes or no answers are acceptable, the only answer not acceptable is “Its good when Gordon Brown does it but bad when George Osborne does it.”

  • Michele

    Objective short piece from Lemn Sissay on Beeb’s iplayer :

  • Gilliebc

    Well I don’t have a problem thinking and saying that ‘money printing’ is never a good idea.  Regardless of whoever is authorising it.  Surely we all learnt that basic economic lesson at school.     

    As for the appalling EU the sooner this country removes itself from that undemocratic organisation the better. Sadly I don’t think we will be allowed to even though more than 60% of the UK’s population according to latest opinion polls want out of it.

  • Anonymous

    Watched Ed Balls on Andrew Marr. I’m not a fan but I agreed with pretty much everything he said.

    He wants:- Big banks broken up, more new banks buying branches- Certain derivates kept outside the ringfence- Make it easy for people to change bank accounts, take your account number with you, change it like we changed the mobile number situation.- People prosecuted and jailed for libor- Bob Diamond’s payoff is outrageous

    All good steps/positions. A couple more and I’d vote for him. These would be:- Making it legally/constitutionally impossible for banks and bankers to be bailed out ever again.- Adoption of TSB style storage deposits or any other form of 100% backed, 100% reserve accounts.

    The right wing tories are the ones looking at these proposals. Obviously Cameron and the centrist crony corporatists are not because they are effectively owned by the banks, after all one isn’t prime minister for ever old boy, must feather the old nest for the future.
    This should be labour’s turf!!!

  • Dave Simons

    One reason for my pessimism is what I witnessed from the public gallery last Monday  after Cameron’s statement at 3pm about the banking crisis – two supposed Blairites, Hilary Benn and David Miliband, doing a much better job than Ed. Also I remember Neil Kinnock and I blame him for the last five years of Tory government that should never have happened.

  • Richard

    The high street consolidation of banks was a disaster. The deregulation allowing building societies to become banks an even bigger disaster. The building society movement was very good but allowing them to be banks and borrow commercially was the top of the greasy slope! Competition as banks.
    The banks now have tight lending criteria as they want to keep bad debt to a minimum in a very fragile economy.
    Interestingly, I know of many cases where loans are refused without Directors’ Guarantees: the Directors unwilling to provide them. Result: no loans. If the Directors do not believe in the project, why should teh banks?
    For those of us who built businesses 30 plus years ago, personal guarantees were always necessary. And the economic outlook was pretty poor then.

    Unless Government makes state owned banks reduce criteria, and non state  owned to be state indemnified, there will be no recovery by growth.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I have no doubt about that whatsoever but I believe that has not changed in the past couple of months, if they are genuine conservatives, they haven’t just started hating Cameron and Osborne in the last two months, which is the narrative Alastair is trying to construct. Anyone who calls themself a conservative would have hated Cameron from the very start. Osborne used to make conservative noises, ie flat simplified taxes, “QE is the last resort of desperate governments etc” so they might have liked him in opposition, but in government he has followed the Brownite over complicated tax route and prescided over more QE. Again, all this could have been computed a long time ago.

    Why do I care? Well I believe that there can be honour in taking Conservative, Labour, or Liberal positions. What I hate is when authoritarians masquerade as liberals or labour people, or when liberals masquerade as conservatives. I want politicians to do what they say on the tin – Cam and Osbo do not, they should be in the modern day liberals party, certainly not the conservative party, and certainly not the classical liberal tradition.

  • Anonymous

    I think the majority of people did not learn that lesson at school Gillie. I know I didn’t.

    And yes 60% of people want to leave the EU but Ed and Dave and all the important people want to stay don’t you know, the rest of just have to know our place. After all who will they get to be their cheap au pairs without help from poor europeans. You would think Ed might have made the conclusion following his excellent immigration apology speach, but no…

  • Anonymous

    Yes, there is giving allowances to people that might have had a bad day, so give and take, but I have yet to see GO have a good day, spouting marvellous pearls of wisdom. Anyway, I think DC is a tool too – they are two spannerheads from the same toolbox.

    Neither has any sort of regular military background, as was usually a pre-requisite for a tory leader back when they talked sense in the middle of the last century. It all went down hill for them with Ted Heath and his yacht, I think. And as for Maggie Thatch, if you told her CHARGE!, she would ask “how much?”.

    Tory’s have had it in british political history, and they are grasping on by their fingernails. DC and GO are just coffin nails needing to be hammered in.

  • Anonymous

    Trouble is, we don’t feed on steel and coal – coal flakes with water doesn’t go down well in the morning.

    Having to subsidise food farming just shows how fucked up our capitalist system is. But the cows will eventually come home to roost(!?!) A mixed metaphor for you.

  • Michele

    It’s been done several times, using the same words. 
    I’ve no interest in going through it all again.

  • Michele

     You can hardly blame Kinnock for the public being so easily led by rags. 
    They ran a slimey put-down campaign of him …. too many things against him of the type that bullies can wind up in to farce.

    He did an absolutely brilliant interview about Osbo/Libor this weekend, I daresay when I look around more this evening I’ll find posts from people knocking him and Mrs K for their EU roles.  I also daresay they’ll be from ‘leftists’ as well as rightist.

  • Michele

     You’ll have to hear it:
    In the closing minutes of the programme, you can scroll along to 44 mins and listen till the end at 48.
    Beeb software for iplayer is safe.

    You likme Hannan and Farage? Given that they’re also fond of pirouetting – not surprised.

  • Michele

     Qualify the effing question.

    QE in WHAT circumstances (IF you want a yes or no).
    Now should I word your question realistically for you or should I get on with something more challenging – having given you the hint that ‘too general’ doesn’t cut it?  Bye.

  • Michele

     I doubt you will do the decent thing now you know that your stupid braggarty NON-informed guess has led you to a lying accusation.

    Go on, surprise me.

  • Gilliebc

    I can’t say I’m surprised that the folly of ‘money printing’ is no longer taught in schools.  I remember it very well.  The lesson was also accompanied by a practical demonstration, just to hammer the point home.      
    Cameron, Clegg and Miliband together with most, but not all members of their parties are pursuing a globalist agenda.  Barring a revolution this country is stuffed.

  • Gilliebc

    ‘what I witnessed from the public gallery’  That’s interesting Dave.  I am a little envious, in a masochistic sort of way.  Do you go there often?

  • Michele

    I have no problem with thinking (either) Gbc.

    I would ask you what you think would have happened without banks being helped with loans (all of which taxpayers will eventually profit from) but as I doubt we’ll ever be able to prove the rightness or wrongness about any answer anyone might give  (and haven’t yet been privileged to receive one from someone else) I’ll not – unless you really feel the need.

  • Michele

     You still manage to not admit your ‘foot in mouth’  …… grow up fgs.

    ambrosian was commenting on what Osbo said about about others who’d done what he just has.
    Ye gods.


    In view of what was said and emphasised today at the committee I do trust you’ll retract your lickspittel copying and lying accusation about Ed Balls.

    Or will you wait till Osbo does then copy him again?

  • Anonymous

    As far as the lending goes, Balls, Cable, Osborne all share the same ridiculously juvenile and optimistic utopian viewpoint! We just need to tell the banks to lend more. I’d like to see a point in history where that ever worked. Oh lets have low interest rates then we’ll have loads of it eh.

    Another viewpoint is that when you artificially lower the price of something, you can have a supply problem. Ie price of potatoes goes down one year, farmers plant less and next year you have a small amount of expensive potatoes.

    We’ve had cheap money ever since 1971. Its gotten worse since 2000, and worse still since 2008. It doesn’t work. Our problem was never too little lending but too much lending to easy projects, if we had higher interest rates we might see some lending to the right projects.

    I agree with what you say though, and in the short term about lending criteria too, banks are being asked to hold more capital and lend more! Can’t happen!

  • Anonymous

    Most importantly, I agree consolidation was a disaster yes. If we had kept building societies and TSBs, then us who were cautious with our money could have had a big laugh at those who were risky. Our society praises risk takers – but thats the whole point, its a risk! Its only a risk if someone gets wasted now and again! We don’t prize the courage of parachute jumpers etc because no one ever dies, its because they do! We need safe banks, or safe accounts for the cautious, and we need the smart alecs (and I might be one of them) who bet on riskier things to lose money sometimes! That includes on houses!

    So yes allowing the building societies to go that way was bad, but markets and other govt factors may have made it happen even if regulation didn’t. TSBs came to an end because they offered safe but low yield accounts, and in the environment of the 1970s with criminal levels of inflation, too much money was being stolen from these accounts for use by government (thats what inflation is.) Also, once deposit insurance came in, in 1979, there was less reason to keep money in “safe” TSB accounts.

    We need to offere building society or TSB style accounts again, with no deposit insurance but made safe in other ways (in TSB case through 100% reserve.) We don’t have to create the institutions, but we could force existing institutions to offer these type of operations, ringfenced. Then there’s be no more bailouts, no more bank runs, people could only lose money that they gambled, not saved, no more moral hazard. We could do away with government debt and inflation. But it wouldn’t help the banker/corporatist/politician/crony class – so it will never happen.

  • Dave Simons

    It’s not a just question of ‘do you agree with quantitative easing or not?’  QE, like bank bail-out, is not necessarily good or bad – it depends on the context. You have to weigh alternative consequences – what would happen without QE? I think we got away from market discipline in the early twentieth century when we saw the dire consequences it led to – world depression and world war. Have we got to repeat the errors of the past or do we learn from our mistakes? Sorry but we need ‘Regulation, Regulation, Regulation!’ But regulation that knows when to loosen up and when to tighten.

  • Anonymous

    Ok I assume its blair and that the running ragged was to get enough support in parliament for the war. Dunno about the explaining to Dubya bit though.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think I’d go as far as “like” but I think Hannan is the best of the Tories, along with Douglas Carswell and Steve Baker. The former two are regarded as being on the “right” but I think their economic ideas would be the best for the poor people and normal citizens (as opposed to the bankers and that class.) I also think they all say what they think, rather than the party line, and don’t patronise people the way Cameron and Clegg do. (I believe Ed Miliband shares this quality, ie I don’t think he patronises people either.)

    Farage no, I think he is clever, good humoured (always good to watch on QT or hignfy) but he is another opportunist, he is also over optimistic “Cameron will have to offer a referendum now” “Greece will have to leave the euro” etc and I think he is unprincipled. If UKIP was really libertarian and all the things it pretends, then it would be for example against workfare, and it would be against AV or PR voting. But in reality it has plenty of the nasty sort of right wingers who just want to kick the downtrodden (therefore supports workfare) and knows that PR will help it so supports it (quite sure he didn’t when he was a Tory.)

    This is not to restart the workfare debate, its different for Labour or whoever to support workfare, but a party calling itself libertarian should not.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t follow.

    If we are talking about Balls role in the financial crisis of 2008 then I was not lying or guessing, the man himself does not deny involvement, let alone other labout people.

    If we are talking about the allegations that Balls was involved with Libor rigging, that was Osborne not me!

  • Anonymous

    Well I am a purist, bailouts and QE are always bad in my book, 100% of the time, no exceptions.

    I appreciate that many, most even, disagree, even among economics students and economists.

    I will admit that my “you either believe in it or you don’t” summation can be argued with, as you say you can agree with it in some circumstances and not in others. But I was merely simplifying the question. If we don’t take the simple view then the next question is what is different about the economic circumstances of the present time, compared to the circumstances when Brown oversaw QE? Those who believe in QE academically should believe that both times are ripe for QE. I put it that the only difference in circumstance for most people is that Labour did it the first time, so it must be good, but the Tories are doing it now, so it must be bad.

    Being a fair person (no jokes)and all, I must admit I saw the excellent Allister Heath in city am remark yesterday however that QE was the right thing to do in Browns time, and the wrong thing to do today.

  • Anonymous

    Economics was not even compulsory at my school, and it certainly wasn’t taught in other classes.

  • Anonymous

    I see no difference between the circumstances when Brown did it or now that Osborne did it. Brown didn’t do it at the height of the crash, but afterwards, in the low growth stage. We are in low growth again now. According to monetary theory (I am not a monetarist) both times are good times for QE.

    So you know what circumstances:
    1. Browns circumstances when he did it.
    2. Osbornes circumstances when he does it.

    If you support it in 1 but not in 2, then give me your economic reasons. Or you could drop the facade, you know you support it in 1 because Brown did it, but don’t support it in 2 because its Osborne. There is no objective economic reason behind your stance.

  • Anonymous

    What foot in mouth?

    I don’t think I accused Balls of that did I? I have accused him of plenty of other things and I stand by that, just as I stand by my praise for his recent banking statements. Shows I can play the ball not the man. You can ask yourself if you have the same ability – I’ve not seen it.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I listened from about 40 mins onwards. Unfortunately Hannan drifted into the established Tory positions here, which I’m not impressed with. I hate it when Tories say “we want to rescue these poor people from the terrible plight of worklessness” as if the people are all on a wretched state on benefits and would rather be doing some backbreaking work, and as if they want to “help” the people. Despite what he says, we know they all do have the daily mail attitude, they do think of them as scroungers to be punished, not unfortunates to be helped – and they know the electorate agree (I don’t.)

    Diane got the better of that part of the debate. Despite what Hannan said, it could be possible that Thatcher caused problem there that are still felt years later, though it is right to ask why subsequent governments didn’t reverse it if thats what happened. The mining communities do still feel the effects of Thatcher and Scargill.

    The question for Diane (and i don’t know the answer) is were things fine in that area before Thatcher came in? Or if not fine, were they better?

  • Michele

    Tory demand for an apology is growing – New Statesman a few minutes ago ….
    (but we have a lying opportunist showoff here too !!! and oooops – in the article another example of stupid questioning is also mentioned).

    Chancellor George Osborne is facing calls to apologise to Ed Balls. Photograph: Getty Images.

    The increasingly impressive Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom won’t
    have done her career prospects any good with her call for George Osborne
    to “apologise” to Ed Balls but she has won the respect of Labour MPs as well as a sizeable number of Tories.

    Asked by Radio 4’s The World Tonight whether Osborne should
    apologise to Balls after Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker
    said no ministers asked him to “lean on” Barclays over Libor rates,
    Leadsom said:

    Yes I do. I mean I think obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise.

    She added:   I think it was a very
    valid discussion at the time about who knew what and that’s now been
    completely squashed by Paul Tucker and that is a valid conversation to
    have had, and now at a personal level he probably would want to

    But Osborne and his aides are refusing to back down. A friend of the Chancellor tells the Telegraph’s James Kirkup
    that Osborne’s suggestion was never that Labour ministers had lent on
    the Bank of England, rather that they had influenced the banks directly.
    That may or may not be the case, but one notes that Osborne has yet to
    supply any evidence to support his account. Nor has he even laid out the
    alleged “questions” Balls needs to answer.  As one Tory MP observed last week,
    “Before we went into the chamber on Thursday, George’s people were
    saying ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. George is going to get Ed Balls’. They
    were indicating that there was a silver bullet that was going to kill
    him. It was never fired.

    Challenged on the Today
    programme to defend Osborne, William Hague insisted that “there remain
    questions to answer” and that there was “no reason” for him to
    apologise. But as the Foreign Secretary’s voice quivered one could tell
    his heart wasn’t in it. Osborne’s dramatic assertion
    that Labour ministers were “clearly involved” in the rate-rigging
    scandal has become the banal claim that they have “questions” to answer
    at the forthcoming parliamentary inquiry. Whether or not the Chancellor
    apologises, he has blinked first in this duel.

  • Michele

     We have not been ‘limited’ in such a way till 2010. 
    The coalescence are the first to state they will hold on/out till the max that has ever been allowable but flexible  (they did so within days of starting their squat).

    They have also, with NC’s help,  changed/fixed NCV in order to close off any way round it no matter how much they fail in-house…….. unless a whole load of govt ‘members’ and asstd Others vote against them again and again and again.

  • Gilliebc

    I guess some of the banks would have gone bust Michele. Some think this would have been a good thing.  I’m not so sure tbh.  What I am sure of though is the disgraceful and hypocritical way Osborne has been seeking to make political capital out of this latest scandal. His remarks and accusations have gone down very badly right across the political spectrum.  So every cloud, and all that! 
    One final point which may or may not be of interest, depending on one’s overall view of the system of things, is that Marcus Agius the retiring chairman of Barclays is married to a Rothschild – big lol!

  • Michele

    What’s the mystique about Vince Cable all about?
    He can crack a good funny but by his own previous criteria he deserves ‘Mr Clean to Mr Unclean’.
    Has he managed to make the banks lend?
    Did he manage to hold on to his BSkyB role or did his boastful vanity cause him to lose it?

    Jeremy Browne sees no shame in admitting that despite not agreeing with elected Police Commissioners his lot voted with the Tories for them. 

    LDs are not in any way living up to the scruples previously claimed by the Gang of Four or the Liberals so the sooner they get honest and convert to Torydom the better; they have no prospects pretending that their LD badges mean a thing.

  • Gilliebc

    ‘……got away from market disipline……….world depression and world war’   
    Exactly.  It all went according to plan!  There is much hard evidence out there to back this up.  It is not some wild unsubstantiated conspiracy theory as TPTB would like us to believe.  It is said history repeats itself and we never learn from it.  It is manipulated and orchestrated to repeat itself, all to the detriment and huge cost in terms of life and quality of life for us ordinary people.  Whilst creating even more wealth and power for the ruling wealthy elite AKA the powers that be.  What’s needing now (imho) is a peasants revolt on a massive world wide scale, beginning in the UK and US.  
    We are many, they are few and have been ruling the roost for far too long.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone done this test? Political compass, started by Neil Kinnocks wife apparently, to see where we all lie on the economic left right scale and on the social left right scale ie from authoritarian.

    I am a libertarian leftist apparently, I am more libertarian than authoritarian (of course) and am more left than right economically. So ya boo to all who used to accuse me of being right wing!

    Actually its a bit rubbish, it doesn’t ask the sort of questions that I personally would ask if trying to work out someone’s economic opinions.


  • Michele

    coalition/run ragged were the words used and they related to things international …..  nothing like the  squalid ‘deal’ here that depended on cabinet roles where the aspirants had only self-interest in mind.

    We can be rid for good of the notion that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable really were ever honourable, never mind creative.

    It was nothing more than self-interest that made them contribute to a 100+ seats majority then compound it by changing NCV rules.

    It beggared belief at the time, what they have aided and abetted ever since is something nobody would have allowed any cred to, if such possibiliities had been mooted by any commentator two years ago.

  • Michele

    South Yorkshire was not well off even before the dessimation of its industries.  It lacked well-paid work but it did have close communities.
    Like so many industrial areas it suffered especially under Thatcher (while what we are watching the meltdown of now is the sector that did do well).

    A Govt’s job is to keep on improving things no matter how good or bad they already are, not make them worse when they’re already bad and sitting on dying industries.

    My point btw was not about the context of what Hannan said, rather about how long ago some things seemed and about his detail …. his accusation to DA that she couldn’t go on and on about what had happened ’40 yrs ago’ …  it was not that long ago no matter how much it seems so.

  • Michele

     Justify or qualify your  …… “Ed Balls, the man with the dirtiest hands in the biggest economic disaster this country has seen for at least 80 years,………”

    Take account of the role in his first year as an MP and the utterly separate role for the following three and explain your right to such grandstanding.

    It’s not X Factor.

  • Michele

     I don’t go along with all the Bilderberg guff but I am convinced people would have been thrown in to sheer panic and I’m positive there would have been suicides if the banks had not been saved at the particular time and the circumstances of it all, a few days after we’d watched Dubbya stutter about Lehmans.
    I don’t disagree with Osbo doing what he just has, I don’t even pretend to know the alternatives but I do know he should at least blush about his verbal opportunism re Labour’s similar actions at times that were even more dramatic.  However, I won’t be holding my breath expecting him to show any embarrassment and do tend to avoid such badly brought up people IRL.

  • Michele

    For the nth and last time the point is NOT about what Osbo has done it is ONLY about his lack of embarrassment – he thinks nobody sees through him LOL.

  • Michele

    Which ‘foot in mouth’? 
    Do you not assess your nasty lying chancing about EB as one (or two)?
    Like Osbo I’ll not be expecting you to retract, despite what was said so emphatically at Committee yesterday.

  • Gilliebc

    Yeah, I did one of those tests about a year or so ago and came out as a left-wing libertarian.  I was quite pleased about this until someone said that a left-wing libertarian was an oxymoron!  As you said reaguns I think they are a bit rubbish.  Some quite weird questions as I remember it.

  • Dave Simons

    I blame Kinnock for that idiotic triumphalist rally in Sheffield in 1992 before anyone had cast a vote – singing that dreadful Queen song, ‘We Are the Champions’, so characteristic of the 1980s and the ‘go-getter’ society. That one event must have swung a lot of voters against Labour, and what an own goal it was.

  • Dave Simons

     No but TV doesn’t quite capture the culture of the place, especially how much democracy has been heavily compromised by ritual and the conservative interpretation of English history.

  • reaguns

    Please blog about the Cameron / Jesse Norman bust up Alastair!

    I don’t even know my view on Lords reform, I don’t even know if Cameron is for or against reform, same with Clegg, Miliband and Norman but I’m sure Cameron’s instincts are wrong as usual, even compared with his own party so glad to see him get another bloody nose. If we had open primaries there’d be more like this.

    I will take a guess that Cameron and Clegg both pretend they want to “democratize” the chamber, but what they mean is select candidates personally who will be voted for once and then stay in their forever. Ie it will be an appointment system disguised as a democratics one. I’d be all for a democratic one ideally a system which is totally independent of the parties and especially party leadership.

  • Ehtch

    Told you it would kick off, go bananas, and I do not mean banana milk, my favorite milk – mmm, pint of milk and one banana in a blender, one spoon of honey with it, mmm.

    ANYWAY, what was I on about, oh yes, impotent present government stuck in their westminster bubble, who have no clue how normal life is, let alone the price of a slug,

  • Gilliebc

    I saw this comment on another site yesterday re. Clegg:  ‘He is an ocean-going traitorous pillock’. among other things! I thought it rather apt. I wouldn’t trust him or Cable an inch. Come the next GE I’m hoping the LibDems will be totally wiped out.

  • Gilliebc

    ‘it will be an appointment system disguised as a democratic one’  Exactly! 

    I think that is what’s concerning/worrying some MP’s and others about these proposals.  As one Tory MP put it, it will be 2nd raters who weren’t good enough to be selected as candidates for the HoC.  The fact that these poodles would remain in the Hol for 15years without facing another vote, is not many people’s idea of democracy. 

    Unless they can come up with a much better idea for reform than this one, it would be preferable to leave it as it is.

  • Michele

    ‘dessi-‘ !!!
    In fact although it was accidental it’s probably even more descriptive than ‘deci-‘ would have been.

  • reaguns

    Ah yes, I understood it was about the 40 years thing. I must admit even I often think 1979 – 33 years ago. Forgetting it was 1990 – 22 years ago. I suppose the crunch time was 81-85 in terms of industry decimation.

  • reaguns

    If Michele is still reading, reply to post vortex one below: I do not believe I accused Balls of what you are accusing me of accusing him of? Ie I did not accuse him of the Libor rigging thing. For a moment I thought you were misreading my joke when I accused Mervyn King, the Fed etc of rigging interest rates, but I didn’t include Balls in that.

    I accuse him of his part in causing the financial crisis in this country, ie his part in the regulatory regime, taking powers from BOE to give to FSA etc, and I accuse him for his part in the no-punishment bailouts.

    It looks like you are mixing me up with Osborne which is deeply offensive – I know my economics!

  • reaguns

    Yeah, nothing about interest rates, central banking, bailouts, keynesianism, monetarism – so not a serious test of someone’s left/right views in the economic sense. I did a similar one to see who I’d vote for in the Republican primaries if I was American, I forget who it came up with but I think it might have been Romney – someone I’d never vote for in a million years, of a very poor Republican field, he was the worst. I actually think he is a rival for dubbya.

  • reaguns

    I have read, on both the labour and tory blogs, that Balls, whatever job he was doing at whatever time, was always one of Browns main advisors. Supposedly Balls came up with the regulatory plan, ie to split up the the BOE and create the FSA.

    If true, then he has the dirties hands (in UK terms.) I did say I doubted Brown would allow anyone else to be the main architect of such a thing, in which case Balls has the second dirties hands.

    Now if you are saying all the bloggers, including labour bloggers are lying…

    If you thought I meant Libor by that, heavens no, the libor thing was crime, but not as consequential.

  • Anonymous

    by the way, always feed the young full cream milk, fuck that skimmed and semiskimmed shoite. And if you can get it, get partiurised non-homoginised, where you then have to turn the bottle/carton over and give it a good shake, to get the cream around. mmm, ladies like their cream around… BEHAVE HUW!!! can’t take you anywhere…

  • Anonymous

    It’s bizarre that DC and GO suggested housing and social benefits should vary across our land, while farmers have unified subsidies, wherever they live.

    DC and GO are complete twits. They should be working to make our lands more capitalistically even, not driving it back to blood sucking SE England fucks, with their numpty banks, in billions of debt to us, as pointed out by wostsisname last week, the physicist who said the banks have been given more money in the last four years than science has since Jesus Christ was born, two thousand years ago.

  • Anonymous

    runny honey at that.

    And late at night, to impress a lady, and to get her dopamine going for sex, put some concerntrated coffee brewed with it too. It’s a big win. Should sell these tips, I am a fool…

  • Anonymous

    recommend wormwood honey for a banana milkshake, incredible interesting taste, baffles the taste buds.

  • Dave Simons

     Excuse me but ‘Thatcher and Scargill’ don’t sit comfortably next to each other in the same sentence. Scargill put up the best fight against Thatcher of the entire decade – far better than Kinnock, the latter pathetically demanding that the government intervene in the mining dispute when the evidence had been around for six years that the dispute was planned and orchestrated by the government in the first place. They didn’t need to be asked to intervene! Opponents of Scargill would have continued opposing him even if he had called for and won a ballot. The absence of a ballot gave a lot of instinctively anti-democratic opportunists a good excuse to appear as the defenders of democracy – the young Bullingdon Boris being one of them. Even rottweiler and Essex man, Norman Tebbitt, has subsequently expressed some contrition about the effects of government policy in the 1980s on the mining communities, and that’s not to sentimentalise them.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly, I am not a fan of Thatcher. I would have done things differently in regards to mining and other industries. I would not have turned off the subsidy tap all in one go on miners (even Hayek said this was wrong), whilst leaving it on for big banks, estate agents, accountants, big companies, farmers and all the others who are silently subsidised through regulation.

    I would have found a way to keep mining going. Unlike most of the left, who are now eco loons and would no longer support mining, I’d start us mining again, plenty of other countries do it. Those on the left who won’t – were never really pro miners, just anti Tory.

    I have no problem with democratic socialists.

    But in the 80s democracy was at war with soviet communism, ie anti-democracy.

    And Scargill was on the other side, and proved it.

    I usually respect your opinions on here Dave, but saying that Scargill not allowing the ballot helped anti-democrats, and saying they’d have opposed him ballot or not, is lame. It was very simple. I have been a union man and the unions were run by the same kind of fascist scum as Scargill. Not much different to the Paisleyites claiming they had support for their workers strike, whilst ensuring that they had UDA men with baseball bats making sure no one could work.

  • Dave Simons

     I also came out very libertarian left even though I was straining not to, but you’re right, the questions are too unsubtle and you can’t give a truly accurate answer to a lot of them.

  • Anonymous

    Fipping ‘ell. 99 coments, icecream cone with a stck of chocolate in it?

    Ey ladies? Chocolate icecream?

    ach. why do i bother,

    come and sit on my lap, you snowflaked loverly, from the sky….