Author Archives: Jonn

Last night Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre used the Hugh Cudlipp lecture to the beat the BBC for its stifling political correctness and left-wing bias. (The editors of the Guardian have printed a transcript, presumably to demonstrate their more open and embracing form of liberalism.)

His basic line of argument – that a national, tax-funded media organisation should take care to reflect the opinions of its nation – is pretty hard to refute, even for an unreconstructed auntie lover like me. But, true to form, he still repeatedly manages to make my lower jaw start wobbling in impotent fury.

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Kendall Myers, a senior US state department analyst, has called the Anglo-American relationship “one sided” and implied that Blair was essentially an idiot for wasting his time. Some choice quotes:

It was a done deal from the beginning, it was a onesided relationship that was entered into with open eyes… there was nothing. There was no payback, no sense of reciprocity… We typically ignore them and take no notice — it’s a sad business… What I think and fear is that Britain will draw back from the U.S. without moving closer to Europe. In that sense, London’s bridge is falling down…

Kendall, a British politics specialist – and thus, I’m guessing, an Anglophile – admitted to feeling “a little ashamed” at the way Bush treats Blair.

I’m about as pro-American as anyone you’ll find on the British left, and I agree that the Bush-Blair relationship is a sick joke. But… I think Myers has misunderstood the PM’s motives on this one.
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Some figures I heard at a conference last week.

NHS costs are growing an an annual rate of about 6%, largely due to several years of generous wage settlements and increasingly pricey drugs.

This hasn’t been that big a problem because, for most of the last decade, NHS funding has been growing at a rate of about 8%. From next year, though, we’re going to see that figure cut to closer to 3%.

So costs are going to increase roughly twice as fast as income will. And deficits, you recall, are already looking likely to hit £1bn for the second year running.

You might want to make sure you get enough vitamins this winter, that’s all I’m saying.

We’re constantly bombarded with news that suggests the global economy is enjoying an indefinite growth spurt. Britain is in year 15 of a boom, China and India are the economic super powers of the future, America grows steadily despite all Bush’s attempts to the contrary. Even in continental Europe, which we’re told is well on the way to humiliating economic decline, average annual growth is still something like 2%. There may be bad years, and for heaven’s sake don’t mention sub-Saharan Africa, but on the whole we’re all climbing up, up, up towards wealth unimaginable to our forefathers.
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Noone’s going to like me for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway:

The Democrats will lose the midterms. And that’s probably all they deserve.

Don’t get me wrong – that’s not what I want to happen. What I want is for the Republicans to be thrown out on to the street, and for the Democrats to spend the next two years doing such a good impression of great government that, come 2008, the GOP are still consumed by recriminations and self-loathing and a Clinton-Obama dream ticket sweeps to victory. That’s what I want to happen.

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Dear Terry,

Many thanks for your letter. If you would be so good as to look behind you and use your binoculars to scan the horizon, there is an outside chance that you might locate the point.

The letter I refer to was printed in last week’s Economist, and relates to the Iraq war (yes, I know, I’m sorry, I’m sick of it too, but sometimes the only way to stop the flow of steam from my aural cavities is to scream; and not wanting to lose my job right now, blogging will have to do).

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