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The race for Number 10

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1328987.  Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:20 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
The head of Channel 4 News has recently suggested that her station might be less reticent in future than in the past about saying "What Politician X just said is not true". But even if that does happen, all that will come from it is that Politician X will get all the other media outlets to tell the nation "Actually, that is not true and it is they who are lying".

Not to mention the fact that Channel 4 News' ratings are around the 650,000 mark which means, even if they successfully do what you're suggesting, they'll only reach about 1% of the population.

Prof Wind Up Merchant
1338770.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:12 pm Reply with quote

A certain guy called Bo Jo has won apparently. He has a funny hairstyle shaped by the wind.

1341919.  Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:23 pm Reply with quote

I may just have missed it, but what happened to that report on foreign interfrerence in UK voting that BoJo refused to release before the election? Did it get published or are we still waiting for the right honourable lying turd for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to run out of excuses?


Alexander Howard
1341930.  Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:15 pm Reply with quote

The security clearance came from Number 10, but the report is published by the Intelligence and Security Committee, which is a parliamentary committee, and it has not been selected yet following the election.

The previous Chairman of the committee lost his seat so it really does start from the beginning.

It seems a weird set-up for a committee concerned with top secret intelligence, when the last chairman was openly conspiring with foreign powers to undermine Britain's interests, and the new one has to be appointed in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, who is pally with Putin and other terrorists and takes the side of Britain's enemies in every controversy.

1342029.  Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:17 am Reply with quote

We're literally talking about the Conservatives actively covering up Russian involvement in British elections, and you choose this moment to accuse the leader of the opposition of being "pally with Putin".

I'm going to have to dash off now because my irony-meter has just burst into flames.

1342431.  Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:06 pm Reply with quote

As expected, there has been a Cabinet reshuffle today. Most of it isn't especially dramatic, with one major exception to which I shall come in a moment.

In less dramatic news, Lady Morgan of Cotes (Nicky Morgan) has left the Cabinet just two months after standing down from the House of Commons and accepting a peerage so that she could remain in the Cabinet. She wasn't fired, it was her own decision. Was the whole ennoblement and Cabinet position some kind of ruse? And if so, what was its object? It was an open secret that she and Theresa May didn't get on, and I'm not sure that Boris Johnson was her biggest fan either.

In other less dramatic news, we are to have a new Attorney-General. The old A-G Geoffrey Cox wasn't fired either, but was "asked to resign". Others have actually been fired today, so why the slightly different approach in his case?

But the big news is that Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer while the reshuffle was going on. Sources say that he wasn't about to be fired, but the PM's right hand man Dominic Cummings thought him common and is said to have made that all too plain. Mr Javid's letter of resignation urges the PM not to surround himself with "yes men". Is he on is way out of the Conservative Party?

I like to think that I'm as well up as most on British politicians, but I'm sorry to say that I've never heard of the new Chancellor. His name is Rishi Sunak, he is MP for William Hague's old seat of Richmond (Yorkshire), he went to public school and Oxford, and he looks about 14. Do we know any more than that about him?

1343824.  Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:55 pm Reply with quote

38 Conservative MPs opposed the Government this afternoon, and backed an amendment tabled by Iain Duncan Smith which would exclude Huawei from the 5G network in the UK. The government did still win the vote, albeit only by 24, and so Huawei will not be excluded.

Last time Conservative MPs voted against a three line whip they had the whip revoked, and that is why such as Ken Clarke, Justine Greening, and Leroy Jethro Hammond are no longer Conservative MPs. (Two of those three say that they still are, but is Ms Greening even a member of the Conservative Party any more?)

There is no indication that the 38 who did it today will have the whip revoked. In the Conservative Party, is it OK for the far right to vote against a three line whip but not for the centre to do it?

1343859.  Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:28 pm Reply with quote

This afternoon we have had the Budget speech, and it is in many ways quite remarkable.

Even though the Conservative government has spent a decade denying its existence, it becomes clear that there is a magic money tree. It's the sort of budget that you might expect if there were an election in three months time. But presenting it three months after an election makes one wonder whether the A level student* who is currently Chancellor is secretly a Keynesian.

The Spectator hates it. It's "barmy", and its deliveror is a "Marxist fruit-cake". It's usual for the stock market to rise after a Conservative budget but in fact it has fallen yet again, so we have to suppose that the City hates it too. Opposition from those quarters will be unfamiliar to the Conservative Party, so we shall have to wait and see how (if) it reacts.

The current Prime Minister now wishes us to believe that he's always been a so-called One Nation Conservative, and that he always opposed the "austerity" economics of the Cameron and May governments. This budget does give that claim some credence, but it's a pity he showed no signs of opposing that policy at the time it was introduced.

I suppose I ought to like this budget, but I'm struggling to say that I do. In a move which was of course completely coincidental, interest rates have today been cut by 67% to their lowest level ever.

Great if you're silly enough to be in a shitload of debt, but I'm not. Saving will now more be pointless than ever, and investing in the stock market is a worse idea yet since it just keeps going down. Even the gold price is down.

Since there's nothing else worth doing with my money at the present time, does the government actually want me to invest a five figure sum in bog rolls, and dress my husband up as that bloke off Dad's Army to hawk them from door to door?

* I am assured that he is actually a man of adult years, but he looks about 16. Does it prove that I'm getting old if I actually want the Chancellor to be an old man who looks more like a corpse than do many dead people, rather than a posh boy who looks like a sixth former?

1343860.  Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:36 pm Reply with quote

How do you come to the assumption that there was a three line whip?

1343863.  Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:51 pm Reply with quote

Because there was.

(The Spectator says the same thing, but is awkward to link to because of its partial paywall.)

1343894.  Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:24 am Reply with quote

I don't know how investment accounts are doing on your side of the Atlantic, but mine has lost 15% since the beginning of the year.

1343900.  Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Nothing like that well !

At the start of the calendar year the FTSE 100 stood at 7,542. As of 1646 this afternoon, it stood at 5,237. That's a fall of 31% in less than three months - or to put that another way, it's now at the same level that it was in March 1998.

Back in the days when Mr S Neotenic frequented these forums, he and I had more one than debate on the less than thrilling subject of pension schemes. He was firmly of the opinion that defined contribution pension schemes were the best option, and in part that was because of the opportunity to take advantage of investment returns rather than being peskily constrained by income.

Only thing is, investment returns over a 22 year period are now zero (and in practice less than that, because investment managers and pensions administrators do not work for free). As befits what he does for a living he was very careful not to give actual advice on the matter - but I for one am extremely glad that I didn't take the advice he didn't give.

1343903.  Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:39 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
investment returns over a 22 year period are now zero (and in practice less than that, because investment managers and pensions administrators do not work for free).

That's not entirely true. While the original investment may only be worth the same as it was in 1998, in the meantime it will have earned dividends which will have been reinvested, and earned further dividends...
A quick Google gives the average dividend yield for the FTSE100 since March 1993 as 3.47%; compounded over 22 years that would more than double the original investment - even if the investment managers were just sitting on their thumbs the whole time.

1343907.  Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:15 pm Reply with quote

OK, I'll give you that. The good husband agrees with you, and it serves me right for pretending to understand math!

Buuut ... if you had actually taken out a pension poliicy in March 1993, you would have been issued with projections of that policy's value come retirement. It used to be that each provider could decide what rate of return to assume for that purpose, but some unscrupulous providers were using silly numbers and so that power was taken from them.

Instead, providers were required by law to use two specified rates of return for these projections. They were 8.5% and 13%, and these were apparently chosen because 8.5% was the lowest long term rate of return of which the Government Actuary's Department could remotely conceive.

If the actuality is 3.47%, those projections ain't looking flash. Which is going to be an issue ere long, because a lot of the people who were dragooned into taking out personal pensions - by, in many cases, fairly dubious sales tactics - in the late 80s and early 90s are by now approaching retirement age.

1343912.  Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:40 pm Reply with quote

I would just point out that you have picked two points in a 22 year period. The footsie (and more to the point some specific investments) could easily rise out of this trough - it's not like it's a new baseline or anything.

We have a slightly different issue. Whilst waiting for the brainless, lazy tossers in the probate debt to process the probate on my late F-i-L's estate the value of said estate has dropped by well over 100k due to investments which couldn't be crystalised without a probate cert falling through the floor. As of yesterday we have a grant of probate, but even that only came after writing a highly undiplomatic email to our MP. He forwarded it to the minister and a few hours later we got an email asking for some specific details - the grant was issued by email a whopping 20 minutes after our reply (some 9 weeks after the initial submission).

So I'm still very much in the "all civil servants are useless subhumans whose only value to society is as cattle food" camp. I would be prepared to moderate my position if and when they are legally defined as servants who (in accordance with centuries of British common law, now that we can ignore all that namby-pamby european helath and safety rights rubbish) can be soundly and repeatedly horsewhipped when they fail to perform.



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