Monday, 7 March 2011

Giving up

I am leaving twitter for forty days and forty nights; I am also giving up chocolate for the same period (the later will be far hard then the first). Great you may say; forty days without your holier then though preaching, misspelt and often insane tweets and you may loose some weight in the barging. Why should I care what you do?

I suspect none of you will care, less read the bible passage about Jesus and thus Christianities first lent “Mark 1: 12-15”, for those interested and I do not intend to expound of the symbolism or temptations Jesus faced. No this piece is not for the faithful but the; well lets call them the rest.

We live in a world where consuming is seen as a good, often even selfishness is seen as a good (“because you worth it”) and where the market actively sells temptation. There are too few voices raised against this obsession with self indulgence and almost none that proclaim the virtues of self restraint and of less but there is one: the voice of lent.

As a Methodist I do not “have” nor am I encouraged into giving anything up for lent and yet I do. I do it to one remind myself of sin but also as an act that reminds me that a balanced life is a life of restraint and of forging today’s pleasures for tomorrows lesser but deeper pleasure. I also do this because I want to give something up, I want to acknowledged that my life is not perfect and that it is too full and often too busy and that it would not kill me to drop a little of it.

In the time freed up by forsaking my beloved followers on twitter I intend to read more books on accesses in order to become better at my job but to also read more of the bible, a sort of secular & religious trade. I of course could do this any time but I find lent focuses the mind and enables and empowers the reforming and reducing if the indulgencies which have come to dominate our lives.

I will not come back to twitter a better man, beyond better skilled in accesses and better schooled in the bible but I will come back having placed it back into its proper, non essential perspective. I of course intend to keep on with both the fomentation studies after lent – reducing my time on twitter, having, hopefully, learned that my life is none the poorer with less tweeting and a lot more reading.

So I encourage you to follow suit, use lent as a time to clean out lives cupboards and reassesses the importance of those activities which dominate our modern life’s. Use lent as a spring board to a smaller but better life. A life filled not with things and activities but purpose and utility. So this lent give something you want up and who knows what may take it place.

So I will leave you now for my forty days in the desert and only my giant ego to tempt me back into the fold. So I will say goodbye and God bless.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Q: “I am getting seriously fed up with the Government which, when faced with
some charge of culpability, invariably picks up the same stick and beats the
previous government with it”:

A: I am confused why you’re annoyed now? Labour did this for 13 years and to some extent the unpopular policies pursued by any government our a response to the failings or misfortunes of the proceeding government. Also they say this because governments are actually powerless to control the situations in which they find themselves but have to continue the myth of their power by blaming bad situations on the last government. In the end you got to blame someone or the public simply blame you

Q: “What was their view on the regulation of banks and in particular of
their speculative investment operations? Did they make their position
unequivocally clear at the time”

A: In the words of Homer Simpson; “short answer no, long answer no”. I am unaware of any pro regulation talk (beyond some criticism of the tri partied structure – basically bashing the FSI) within the tory party (or anti regulation); it was a non-issue until the crash. Vince cable did warn of a crash unless more regulation was brought in but no more detail than that. Indeed looking at both manifestos I see almost no commitment to more regulation (beyond a lib-dem pledged to separate the retail and casino banks a pledged they shared with UKIP) and I see no more regulations being proposed moving forward – though they may separate them (along the lines of the now defunct Glass–Steagall Act in the us)

Q:“What would they have done about the failure of Northern Rock and the
near collapse of HBOS and RBS? Would they have let a bank fail? What would
they have done to protect innocent retail banking customers, who simply
relied on those institutions to look after their money prudently”

A: Right: On northern rock – official line at the time from the Tory party was let it fail (not sure on the lib-dem side) and the same was true for the others (though not for very long). As for the innocents involved with the banks even before the banks collapses any deposit below fifty thousand was protected by the state. I, however, do believe Gordon Brown should go down for almost single handily saving the international economy buy the scope of government action which forced international action to save the banks

Q: “Did they have a view on the demutualisation of what were formerly the
big Building Societies”

A: I have no idea I would imagine they had a no policy, policy but they all did – you must remember in order to do this the depositors had to vote in favour of it – so it would be indecent for government to interfere

Q: ”My point is that unless they were absolutely clear in their opposition to
the policies of the previous government, they are complicit with it. And
that brings me back to a point I raised with you on a previous occasion:
should not 'the books' be opened much more to joint scrutiny by the Commons?
Without such transparency we will inevitably encounter, at some point in the
future, further obfuscation such as we have now. 'Blame it all on the other
lot' is a feeble privilege we can well do without”

A: I am not sure what book you are referring too – all commons debates are recorded in Hansard as are the votes of all MP’s. the fact is that generally no one cares – indeed this last election was marked by a non-campaign – a campaign which went out of its way to disengage with the voters – both side purposefully avoided discussing any of the issues and descended into blaming each other.

A con:I do disagree on one point: The last government is one hundred per cent responsible for the polices it under took regardless of the polices advocated by the opposition – the opposition cannot be held accountable because they have no real power and are just playing politics in the waiting room of power. Also I do not believe the coalition are blaming the crash on the last governments banking polices butthey are holding them accountable for the deficit cause by the last governments over spend something which is directly there fault and was challenged (albeit very late) by the now government.

A con – con: So yes the entire situation we are now in is not the last governments fault but some of it is and even if the opposition did not realise this; it is not really there job to do so; it is the government job to govern the country and accept the responsibility for any failings. The blaming of the government is partly polices and as old as the hills but is also partly a true picture of who is to blame for any nations situation