RANDOM THOUGHTS

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The Liberal Democrats? Are they still a thing?

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Maybe being a little over-kind here.

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This thread on the Tory’s week, is always worth a read. Russ is hilarious.

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Ummm, it’s the English transport secretary on a crowded train, with no mask, advertising the Daily Telegraph, which used to be a newspaper, and irritating everyone around him. I’m not entirely certain why he is poking his nose into the information that is given out on trains which are run by private companies (mainly from abroad). I suspect he may be trying to distract the attention of the public from the queues in Kent, the heating bills, the cost of food, the ongoing crisis in the NHS, the sacking of ministers for being Muslim, and the intimidation of MPs who displease the government. Or maybe it’s from the prime minister and his thoughtless inconsideration of “ordinary” people who were having such a hard and miserable time while he was getting wrecked with his staff at various and sundry parties. Shapps has always been a figure of fun, but this is pretty grim, even from him.

Paul Routledge: Grant Shapps is the smirking face (or rather two faces) of  the Conservatives - Paul Routledge - Mirror Online

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Martin George on Twitter: "DfE new boy Lord Agnew of Oulton among friends  as he joins the House of Lords flanked by predecessor Lord Nash and  Baroness Evans https://t.co/lmAbP5qwjq" / Twitter
It’s the uniquely British way to do democracy.
WOW!

Lord Agnew, a treasury minister, has resigned over the government’s failure to deal properly with the fraud surrounding Covid contracts.

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83 thoughts on “RANDOM THOUGHTS”

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha… I’ve just read that there was a party in No 10 during the first lock down for Johnson’s birthday. And Carried surprised everyone with a cake. Awww, isn’t that sweet… oh, yes, and illegal?

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The “over 20%” is, strictly speaking, correct, but it’s also a bit misleading so I see Wee Willie’s point.

    If you work it the other way round, the Scottish figure is”over 82%” of the English one.

    I have some really interesting books on statistics! (and yes, the nights do just fly by…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is plain correct, no ‘strictly speaking’, or any other qualifier needed.

      Ergo, it is not misleading.

      ’20 percent greater’ makes infinitely more sense, when making a comparison, than ‘1 percentage point higher’; it provides no context.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Hmm. Maybe, if you were going to go down the 20% route, it’d be less confusing to start with “55 people/45 people in a thousand”, as the 20% doesn’t relate to the other percentages. Simpler, and has less chance of being misunderstood.
        We could draw a Trivial Pursuit-like pie chart; “This is how much less England cares…” – whilst removing a sixth…

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, I kinda thought it sounded right to me.

              Government’s do tend to take the kindest (to them) interpretation of figures, but it all sounded logical to me.

              Fair to say though, that numbers are not my strength. (What is? says Munguin.)

              Like

        1. Sorry Derek, but the 20% absolutely does relate to the other percentages; which is entirely the point here.

          Like

              1. The First Minister is absolutely correct. She is comparing 2 numbers by using %.
                If the numbers were the price of beans there would probably be no confusion.
                Tesco sells a package of beans at £4.49 and Sainsbury’s sells the same pack for £5.47.express the difference as a %.
                Answer 22%
                This would be a typical % question in Second year at school. Maybe Willie Rennie was absent that day.
                The calculation has nothing to do with statistics .
                The whole discussion just shows the basic weaknesses in arithmetic of a number of people including politicians who routinely criticise the present school system.

                Liked by 2 people

                    1. Actually, and this is serious, I haven’t heard their views at all.

                      Probably that’s because no one bothered to ask them.

                      The Who?

                      Like

    1. Indeed. In fairness I think there were more than Tries that liked that kind of thing… and almost undoubtedly still like that kind of thing.

      And as Miss Jean Brodie reputedly said… “For those that like that kind of thing, that, is the kind of thing they like”… Morningside accent, of course.

      Like

  3. In Lord Agnew’s resignation speech, he said that fraud was estimated at £29 billion a year across government. He didn’t say whose estimate that was, but I’m sure it was a gross underestimate: the £37 billion on the fraudulent track and trace fiasco alone is 28% more than that. Or £29 billion is only 78% of the£37 billion fraudulently wasted on the fiasco of track and trace.

    If you study Russian – or most if not all the Slavic languages – you have to deal with that kind of percentage and percentage point business quite a lot, which is especially hard if you’re doing simultaneous interpretation. Put it this way: where English says half as much, Russian says – literally translated – twice as less. So… in Russian, that “England’s infection rate is 22% higher than Scotland’s” would likely come out as “Scotland’s infection rate is 18% lower than England’s”. And no, I’m not going to bother translating it into Russian for anyone, because I’d probably get it wrong now that it’s over 40 years since I first had to come to grips with the minefield that is Slavic number systems (ever heard of Polish reverse logic?).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry, in Russian you can of course say that England’s infection rate exceeds Scotland’s by 22%. But the “18% less/ lower”, would be the first thing to mind for a Russian speaker, rather than “22% more / higher”.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Which is precisely why I was moaning to you (a couple of weeks back) about people being, generally speaking, hopeless when being presented with data; especially when subject to spin.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah, Drew, you’re quite right. What boils my piss most is hearing some jerk of a pol spouting total statistical / arithmetical / mathematical absurdities with a faux air of conviction, in the secure knowledge that 99% (see what I did there) of the population will be none the wiser. There are far too few folk who know the difference between precision and accuracy. It’s just far too easy to bamboozle far too many people, because they’ve never been exposed to the intellectual tools to distinguish truth from lies – statistical or otherwise. Failure of the education system, I think; no reflection on people’s mental / intellectual potential. Aaargh! I could despair, but I think I’ll do dogmatic slumber instead.

            And now for something completely different. On some BBC news network yesterday (I broke my cardinal rule of not watching TV except in passing, with a particular aversion to the EBC), a Scottish reporter was at Westminster in a slot / segment / whatever on Partygate, after showing Ann(e) Rayner for Labour doing a spot of excoriating at the despatch box (is that what it’s called? It’s next the Mace, which I always thought was something to do with nutmeg, which shows how little I know, though it’s probably near the woolsack). Then the live interview – with Alastliar Carmichael. Yeah, that’s right, skip the second-largest opposition party in the Commons, and go directly to one of the worst examples of the precious few LibDems.

            Really, who cares what the LibDems think, ever since they hopped so gleefully and sordidly into bed with the Tories? They used to have some decent ideas and a commitment to things such as Charter 88, but now? Perhaps the EBC / the Westminster regime are operating under the assumption that if they ignore the SNP / us Scottish independentistas long enough, we’ll go away.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It’s amazing how many time the Liberals are asked for an opinion and the SNP are not. I suppose that’s because some of the Liberals are English and none of the SNP are.

              Like

              1. Yes, Tris, why should any Westminster Tory regime pay the least bit of attention to the barbarous scum who live in the Territories … uh, Provinces … or is it Dependent Territories or Crown Colonies… Possessions, maybe … whatever you call those benighted parts of England where those non-English minorities live who’re too stupid to talk properly or vote Tory – they would be a bit like Leicestershire local authority, but not as important, except they keep going on about separatism, or “independence” as they keep saying as if they were capable of self-government. Why, the very idea! Simply laughable! Of course we had to put the kybosh on that little piece of idiocy right out of the gate, eh what? Saving them from themselves, really. Doing them a big favour. But are they grateful? Hell no! So hell mend them, say I.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. It would be a bit embarrassing, mind you, if the BBC or any of the journalists asked what ever happened to the catch phrase, the will of the British People, when we continually tell those Celts that, like it on not, THEY ARE GREAT BRITISH people.

                  Um… Fortunately, we’ve promised some Ks and a few seats in the House of Bath-chairs and appointed one of our number as DG of the socialist BBC and another one as chairman of the board.

                  So embarrassing questions never really happen.

                  Sorted!

                  Liked by 1 person

    2. Ha ha ha ha… No, I’ve not come across Polish Reverse Logic. (I get enough of that from a certain animal, albeit, not Polish.)

      On the World Service news, it was mentioned that a minister had resigned. It failed to mention why or that he wasn’t an elected minister.

      No one seems to be trying to find out much about what particular frauds he’s talking about, but there were many, including a lot of businesses who don’t pay tax in the UK, claiming money from the UK.

      And, all the contracts for PPE that didn’t work and which went to Friends of the Tories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tris, here’s a link to a nice one-page explanation of Reverse Polish Logic / Notation, with a really good graphic which shows it in operation. RPN is actually very common; in more general use, in fact, than the traditional kind, as it’s found in every general-use electronic calculator of any kind worldwide: https://is.gd/9Ji3sF.

        Like

  4. Hearing the Sir Lew Grade is to produce the next ‘kick the can’ report.
    Listened to tory mp tonight say the same stuff, we need to wait for the met report, can’t say anything about the parties now.
    The police investigation will take months.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Imagine Johnson and numerous staff end up with a fine or police caution. Johnson surely could not survive that. How many of the current cabinet are only in post due to Brexit/Johnson loyalties? How many of the cabinet could conceivably stay in post under a new PM after all their public support for Johnson? Not sure we live in normal times where we see political consequences that we would have once expected. Dorries for PM?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By limiting his 2019 intake to people who would vote for NO MATTER WHAT DEAL (OR NOT) he got…and that does limit the number very seriously… he lost all his clever MPs. He left with desperados who put their hatred of the EU and foreigners and naked ambition above everything else.

      However, his successor will be chosen from among them, by a small number of largely elderly, largely southern, largely comfortably off and traditional Tories.

      So, for very obvious reason I doubt Sunak, Patel or Javid stands much of a chance.

      Raab?
      Truss?
      Gove?????

      The question is, where would whoever gets the job, get their ministers and cabinet from.

      You may laugh about Dorries, but if you had said to me 3 years ago that she would become a cabinet minister… and for bloody CULTURE, I regret to say, I’d have laughed long and hard at you.

      My frineds in France and Hungary tell me that everyone is laughing their head off at the UK.

      How is it in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, etc where Munguinites have daily contact with sane people?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The UK is considered to be in a bit of a mess. The news stories are about corruption and parties, while Johnson is no more than a caricature.

        The UK used to genuinely be an important country. It forged international alliances to get what it wanted. It was proactive in the EU. It had a booming economy and for a sustained period that was coupled to a booming currency. It didn’t suffer from political instability or any of its consequences. It even had a tradition as a save haven for people fleeing persecution. It’s a long road back.

        In other European countries there remains a greater sense of constitutionality. Also, power is divided between non-political institutions. This stops important things like public health messaging becoming politicised. The UK, meanwhile, is still yelling to itself about unelected bureaucrats.

        I think Truss has a chance at PM. She might not be the brightest button but it’s hardly a field of shiny coins.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks, Terry.

          I’ve always thought that, at least in more recent times, Britain was “important” mainly because if fairly rigidly stuck to support of American policy no matter what that was, and as an American friend once said, played puppet to the US. The special relationship was, in reality that they said “jump” and the Brits said “how high”.

          This secured Britain’s place on the outdated UN Security Council permanent membership, over which I think the USA (the paymaster) has considerable sway.

          But it’s true that, as you say, the UK was economically (internationally) successful…albeit with large pockets of dreadful poverty.

          Brexit may finish that off, and the relationship with America has, although it has always been a little one-sided, deteriorated, again, mainly because of Brexit (NI) but partly because of the buffoon Johnson and his cheap jokes at the expense of the present president’s close friend, President Obama.

          I’ve thought for a while that Truss might well be the one.

          All I can say in her favour is that she’s not quite as dim as Nadine and her hair is better than Johnson’s.

          Apart from that she is a laughable figure as a cabinet minister. She seems to be unaware of the fact that when she is trying to sell a policy to the people, using the internet, that “foreigners” can read /see it too.

          The carry on with the story of the Australian Trade Minister is scary. She genuinely didn’t seem to think that he would get to hear about her sitting him on a hard chair. What? Did she think they didn’t speak English in Australia, or that he wouldn’t have access to the internet what with being foreign and all?
          It was hardly surprising that she was, in the talks that followed, done over good and proper!!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That thing with Truss and the hard chair reminded me of a scene from The Great Dictator where Hitler meets Mussolini in a barbers. They both pump their chairs up so they can be the highest and look down on the other.

            The annoying is that this kind of nonsense plays well with the Tory membership.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Well, the fool she made of herself and the country (and the damage that it did to the trade deal…after all, it must have made the Australian Trade Minister all the more determined to get the double plus best possible deal for Australia) seems to have done her no harm.

              She was promoted to Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary… on the strength of the bad deal she did for Britain.

              Sometimes I wonder what it is she has on Johnson. Given both their histories…

              I’d not be surprised to see her elected leader…given the competition and the electorate.

              Please, please let her go to elocution lessons. Her accent grates.

              Like

              1. I think she’s just popular and that’s why she’s in cabinet. Better to have her in the tent pointing outwards than outside pointing in, as it were. That also explains Johnson being in May’s cabinet.

                I don’t know everyone in cabinet but for me she stands out as someone less naturally loyal to Johnson and Brexit but prepared to go along with it all so she can climb the ladder. Not likely to improve the UK’s image abroad but nobody cares about that any more.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. She probably is popular with the Tory faithful.

                  And as you tactfully put it, it is better to have her inside the tent. I’m certain that May had Johnson in the cabinet for that reason. He was the personification of the Brexit that she had to try to deliver. She had no end of trouble with the ERG and probably thought that having him onside would keep him a bit quieter than some of the others. It did for a while.

                  I think she was always under huge pressure from the ERG, which is probably why she precipitously activated Section 30.

                  I think Truss must be very ambitious.

                  Many Tories who had supported Cameron and Remain, jumped ship and supported Leave after the vote. I suspect that was understandable. The will of the people and all.

                  May was quietly a Remainer, but Truss actively worked for Remain and was quoted as saying she didn’t want her kids to grow up without the freedoms of EU membership.

                  I’ve tried to work out what I would have done were I in that position…

                  I think I’d have resigned from parliament and taken advantage of the generous payoff and some of the contacts I’d made…and maintained my dignity.

                  But I’ve never had any ambition at all… except to get to the end of the week!!!

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Awww, that was nice of someone… her probably.

                      Just in case people don;t know:

                      Truss came under fire from party activists in her future Norfolk constituency in 2009 over an affair with a married MP.

                      The fling with then-Tory MP Mark Field is thought to have lasted around 18 months and almost derailed the then 34-year-old’s climb to becoming the nomination for the seat.

                      from:
                      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/inside-life-liz-truss-racy-25940644

                      Like

  6. The Atlantic……..”The Tears of a Clown” By Tom McTague:

    Just as we have never had a prime-ministerial collapse like this, never have we had a prime minister like Johnson—at least not since 1945. Johnson is not merely stylistically different from those who came before him, but substantially different. At root, each of Britain’s postwar prime ministers was a serious creature who believed in the seriousness of the job and the seriousness of life. Some were more serious than others, but each held on to their own notion of morality, honor, and rectitude.

    Johnson is different. As with Benjamin Disraeli, the prime minister from 1874 to 1880 and one of Johnson’s great heroes, we glimpse in the current prime minister a “mocking observer surveying with skeptical amusement the very stage upon which he himself [plays],” as the late professor Robert Blake put it in his biography of Disraeli.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/01/boris-johnson-party-pressure/621325/

    Like

    1. Good piece in the Atlantic.

      “This was, indeed, his great political strength: his ability to reflect the aspirations of ordinary England. He was Good Old Boris who sorted Brexit, didn’t talk down to them, socked it to the Europeans, and promised to take back control.”

      The thing is that he is all “froth and bubble” (as John Major once said of others in the Tory Party).

      I think he talked a good talk to, as the piece said, the people of England. It’s not that he personally believed in Brexit, just that he felt it was the right way for HIM to gain power.

      It was all good when all he had to do was talk about the sunny uplands of the great British world-beating future. But as in so many of these things, when the sugar coating had gone and he was left with the reality, it stated to look a lot less edible.

      Over Covid, he’s always said what “the ordinary Englishman” wanted to hear …suck it up,

      But again, the reality of Covid is far from the Blitz spirit of the mythical Englishman of folklore. As the reality of Brexit for many people is far from world beating GREAT Britain.

      Even if the press tried hard not to show that the British, and more specifically English, situation has been far worse than other countries in Europe, it’s still getting through.

      Thanks for sending them, Danny

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s Otto English (aka Andrew Scott) giving us just something of the character of Boris Johnson:

    For me though the question isn’t whether or not he should go ( and I don’t need to wait on the Sue Gravy report to answer that), the question is what is it about our society and our politics that allowed this man to get to where he is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good stuff, Jake…

      He might also have mentioned the letter that his housemaster wrote to his father… a house master at Eton, on of the most privileged schools in the world, with pupils for royalty, aristocracy and the super rich , and therefor a housemaster who had dealt with Highnesses, Graces and Excellencies… who wrote: “Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies . . . Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School for next half): I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”

      And he could have mentioned also Boris’s indignation when he failed to get a First in the Greats at Oxford, despite having taken his habitual cavalier attitude to study.

      https://www.ft.com/content/42f39f46-e01a-4632-9e9c-0172673f6efc

      But hey, I don’t mean to sound in any way critical. It was a great video and let’s face it, if we covered all of his character flaws we’d be pushing up daisies when we finished the video.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. And Wullie Rennie accuses Nicola Sturgeon of abusing statistics… so no doubt the LibDems will be making a well-founded complaint to the Statistics Authority about Johnson’s continual abuse of them. Surely abuse of statistics must be one of the easiest things to prove among his constant lies?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Answer
    There’s no creshe facilities needed, the non grown up tory mps show that every time we see their performances in the mother of paliaments.
    Typical performance today of the school bully team making comments on weight.
    Far be it from me to make comment about the team bully’s weight.
    Wonder if coffey ggets the same comments in the cabinet or is she the person who eat the cake?
    See we can all make comments but I’ll now get put on the naughty step by mum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I thought it was a bit rich, coming from Johnson, that he made a weight comment about Ian.

      I mean, it’s not like he’s not a tad chubby himself. Likewise several more of them.

      It was Thatcher who said when they called her names that they had immediately lost the argument.

      \fun though it may be on a blog like this, it doesn’t make for sensible debate in parliament.

      Liked by 1 person

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