Tuesday, 27 December 2011

End of Year Quiz

Who, in 2011, said the following?

- "They say I am a bad man because I hurt lot of people in my time. But I have many good reasons for doing these things. After I have seen this terrible September Eleven disaster movie all those years ago with all these planes and these towers falling down, then I take decision I must hate these mass destruction weapons as much as everyone else. It is then that I realise it is wrong to have these mass destruction weapons and it is much, much better to torture people instead - which is something I have always been very good at."

- "G'day! Now, say what you like about the PCC. But nahbody can deny they dealt with these press complaints in a dignified, sensitive and, most important of all, a restrained manner. And long may that continue. Good on yer, PCC!"

- "Sure I'd hand your London School of Economics a donation if that could play a part in my "rehabilitation". And I guess the guys at the LSE would accept it - after all, my "rehabilitation" would be good news for them too. Right? Added to that they get the chance to fund some cutting edge research into good governance within the criminal underworld. So you might just call it a win-win situation."

- “Yeah, well the reason I went out the other day and smashed all them shop windows was cos I was angry when they withdrew the edducashonal mentinanc… the educachinell minetinence allouwan… the educcasinall maintinnin… cos I needed a new 42 inch plasma TV.”

- "Mr Murdoch once called me "a very political old monk shuffling around in Gucci shoes". I wonder what kind of foot-wear Mr. Murdoch will be wearing in his next incarnation."

- "Where has all of da money gone? I do not know. This is not easy to explain, I tell you. But one thing that I do know is the whores, which we all know to be very important to society, they do not pay any of the taxes. So maybe this tax situation of these whores, that has a something to do with it. Perhaps."

Friday, 23 December 2011

Special Offer! Peace on Earth!

Peace on earth* goodwill toward men*

*Offer not open to ambulance-chasing lawyers and insurers, bureaucrats, bonus-grabbing bankers, producers of crap advertising, feral youth, feral rich, bureaucrats, PRs, lobbyists, bureaucrats, oligarchs, off-shore bankers, makers of reality TV shows, corrupt newspaper proprietors/editors, liars, cheats, frauds, Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan... and, er bureaucrats.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

In praise of The Freedom of Information Act

An 'insider' writes:

"Far be it from me to  *REDACTED*

"It is indeed unacceptable that *REDACTED*

"And despite everything we know about  *REDACTED*

"And essentially that's my p  *REDACTED*

Monday, 12 December 2011

An Ode to Joy

A Eurocrat writes:

"Fortune shines once again on the illustrious Eurocrats - at least as far as certain sections of your British media are concerned!

"Only a while ago we were a bunch of grey and indistinctive men in suits with inane grins on our faces. Only a while ago we were the "load of idiots" who had apparently got Europe into this mess in the first place.

"And now, what a turn around for the books, is it not?

"For it is now your Monsieur Camion who is in the dog-house for not wanting to offer up your oh-so-cherished British sovereignty to grey and indistinctive "idiots" like ourselves in Brussels! And what an isolationist he has shown himself to be!

"How happy I am to see your British media changing its mind! It is all making me want to sing an Ode To Joy!

"You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?
Seek him in the heavens;
Above the stars must He dwell."

"What a shame it is that you British in your (not very substantial nor visionary) millions have not the desire to share the love and the warm embrace that we Eurocrats have to offer you. Perhaps it is because you still believe that we are "bunch of idiots in Brussels" who got Europe into this mess in the first place.

"But I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth!"

Monday, 5 December 2011

'Cos they said so...

What brought on the summer riots?

We've assembled a panel of experts - journalists, sociologists, socio-psychologists, psycho-sociologists, social journalists, Guardian journalists, social networkers, psycho-networkers, concerned politicians, academics, concerned academics, Guardian Newspaper academics, and, members of the LSE - who claim they know why the riots took place.

They know because they've engaged with the rioters, talked to them directly. And they have, quite justifiably, taken the words of these rioters as Gospel.

According to our statistics the rioters acted as they did for the following reasons:-

99.98 % claimed hostility towards the Police, even though the Police were nowhere to be seen at the time.

99.45% claimed it was down to the Police and the very fact that they were nowhere to be seen at the time.

97.98 % said it was to do with the shooting of Mark Duggan, even though 99 % of these respondents also asked: "Who's Mark Duggan?"

98.3746 % cited poverty and the fact that everybody has the right to a 40" plasma TV.

93.456 % blamed poor parenting - their parents brought them up believing they had the right to a plasma TV. In addition, many parents were involved in the riots.

This appears to be proof, were proof required, that all other explanations for the summer riots are unfounded. And this is because the rioters have said so.

Now, the unfounded explanations for the riots are as follows:-

10.2101 % claimed downright criminality, which we opinion-formers have taken with a pinch of salt and interpreted as quite simply mistaken.

3.454 % have raised the issue of gang culture. But then they would raise it, wouldn't they, what with everyone in the media telling them gang culture was to blame?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Information Commissioner's Rap

Ever wondered what an Information Commissioner does for a living? We asked our "resident commissioner" to rap on the subject...

I'm da commissioner.
The info MC
There's nothing, no info
Don't pass by me

Got my powers
From da powers-that-be
They said my job
Was to "oversee"

"Oversee what?" I asked
"Will you please tell me?"
"Personal data," say they
Of guys like you and me."

"But what do I do
When Rupert M wants our data?"
"Dunno," say they
"Get back to you later?"


Much, much later...
Much much later... 
So much later... 
All da sensitive data.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Stop the presses!

What happened to "characters" previously depicted on these pages?

1) Did the predictions of a mad Libyan oligarch come true?

"These crazy rebels, they will use Libya's oil money to buy drugs from that Satan Obama. These drugs will make the rebels dream insane dreams. The ordinary citizen will think he can eat the desert sands and eat the camels, all the camels in Libya, even the brother sister's camels, and after that he will want to eat the tent in which he live and the tent in which I live too. And soon after that, all the camels in Libya and everywhere, they too will want to eat all the tents. And after that happen, President Osama, he will send his dogs into Libya. And he will have given them guns and hallucinatory drugs as well. Those dogs, they will then want to shoot the camels and eat them. And then the sands, they will swallow up the camels and the tents and the peoples. And all of Libya will disappear into nowhere. I ask you: What kind of hallucinations is that? Not my kind, peoples. Not my kind."

2) What happened to the man brought in to advise on breast-milk ice-cream?

"I have looked long and hard at female breasts. As a rich source of nourishment for developing infants, breasts are invaluable. But I do not believe we should look at breasts - common though they may be - as something to be taken for granted, that is to say, as the basis for food production. Would it not be so much simpler for retailers to produce and market breast-milk flavoured ice cream?"

3) What's up with Lord Prescott?

"Just because I have decided to don the ermine which has always been the very insignia of working class oppressors through the ages, it in  no way, shape or form suggests that I am about to surrender my fight with those who would undermine those values and those  beliefs that I have fought for all of my working life to overcome.

"However I would like to state without uncertainty that those rumours suggesting I am about to follow the path of Comrade Blair and adopt the learnings and the rituals of the Pontiff in Rome and the acceptance of the Latin Mass have no foundation nor  justification here on earth nor anywhere else at this present time."

4) Large Hadron Collider - Despite a stack of money being thrown at this Geneva based "experiment" scientists now indicate the Higgs-Boson particle might not actually exist after all. Here's what we said previously:-

Hadron Collider will be sold to developers

The powers that be have come up with a novel solution: convert the collider into a theme park, which will include a Super-Collider Fun Ride, plus an activity centre that'll show people how to make their own Higgs-Bozo particle.

Fashion designers will launch a range of "Collision" Clothing and toy manufacturers will produce scale models of the particle - which should provide hours of fun for children.

Asked to comment on these developments, a scientist called Ron said: “We might as well put the collider to some use.  And anyway, I was sick of my mates saying: You know what? We’ve been had Ron.”

5) What became of all those esoteric financial products that bankrupted global economies?

"Guys, guys, guys... collateralised debt obligations are so last season.We've an exciting new range of products nowadays. For example: "Collateralised vulture re-purchase funds", "re-collateralised quantitative easing obligations", "de-collateralised sub-prime re-purchase profits-only obligations", "fractionally-collateralised inflationary no-lose take-profit obligations", "quasi-collateralised bonus obligation obligations", and the latest "un-reconstructed massive-bonus re-newal obligations".

So don't say that bankers haven't changed. In fact we've totally re-invented ourselves!"

The original "stories" can be found by using the search engine to the right!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Everybody needs good neighbours

From the archive:-

These days Select Committee hearings focus mainly on policing and the behaviour of the tabloid press (the televised ones do, at least.) But not that long ago it was bankers who were in the spotlight.

On one occasion back in early 2010, the boss of RBS, Stephen Hester, tried to laugh off his exorbitant pay packet. Here's how this blog viewed his performance back then. (How times have changed...):-

MONDAY, 11 JANUARY 2010 - "10 million pound RBS Boss: Even my parents think I'm a greedy bastard."

RBS boss Stephen Hester gave evidence to the Treasury select committee yesterday afternoon. This is the "transcript" of that evidence.

John McFall, MP: May I ask, what do your parents think of you, Mr Hester?

Hester: They think I'm a greedy bastard.

(Roars of laughter in the committee room)

McFall: (Wiping tears from his eyes) Very good, Mr Hester. If I may say, that is an excellent joke. And one that I would expect from someone of your great stature. Now moving on, what does your wife think of you?

Hester: She thinks I'm a greedy bastard, but she likes the new kitchen.

(Derision throughout the chamber. Sound of MPs and journalists falling off their chairs)

McFall: You're in the wrong job, Mr Hester. You're a regular comedian, are you not? Were I head of light entertainment at the BBC I would pay you at least twenty million.

Hester: Indeed you would Mr McFall. Indeed you would.

(More laughter and derision.)

McFall: (Fighting to hold back the tears) Too much, too much, Mr Hester... Now, Mr H. What do your children think of you? And please, please take your time. I haven't yet wiped away all of those tears that your last joke caused.

Hester: What do my children think? Well, Tom loved the Porsche. Tallulah adored the new pony and paddock, whilst Ed thinks I'm God after I bought him the recording studio.

(The chamber descends into chaos)

McFall: I have never come across such flair, such elegant wit. I am lucky to be here at this moment in time. Indeed, very lucky. Now, Mr Hester, what do your neighbours make of you?

Hester: My neighbours think I'm a greedy bastard. That's because they are envious. They tell people in our local village that I am a tosser. But they have to be nice to my face. You see, each year my family throws the most lavish summer ball in the county. If neighbours Ron and Val don't show due deference whenever they are in my company then they will find themselves very much uninvited. So, Ron and Val... who are the tossers now, eh? Eh?

(Howls of laughter around the chamber)

McFall: (Trying to compose himself) We are witnessing pure genius. None could ever possibly question your salary, however high it might be, Mr Hester. You are indeed a man who is not simply rich in monetary terms, but also in terms of your character, your spirit and your charming humour. Now, Mr Hester. One final question: What does the taxpayer think of you, do you reckon?

Hester: The taxpayer? Who the hell gives a fuck about them?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

When bankers were (just as) powerful.

On BBC2 this evening satirist Ian Hislop will take a look at philanthropy within the Victorian banking community. He will focus on characters like Peabody, Gurney and Rothschild all of whom "gave something back to society".

But before we get too excited, we should remember there was one thing Victorian bankers were as loathe to "give back" as their modern counterparts. Namely, power.

Here are a couple of relevant quotes (lest we forget) :-

Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild:

“I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.”

Rt. Hon. Reginald McKenna, Midland Bank, England's Secretary of the Exchequer:

"Those who create and issue money and credit direct the policies of government and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people."

Problem is, how do you encourage bankers to give (power) back to society?

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Lyricism of the Technocrat

A technocrat writes:

"You know, just because we are supposedly grey, unelected technocrats, this does not mean that we are thinking, sleeping and dreaming in barren prose all of the time. No! On the contrary. You will be aware that my good friend and fellow Europhile, Herman Von Rompuy has a great love of the Japanese art of Haiku. And we have been seeing many of his great works in such a respect over recent years.

"I too would love to share with you one of my efforts in the art of poetry. It is a clever and challenging variation on the words of that great chap and fellow St. Francis of Assisi. And I hope that you will a-see-see the true poignancy of my work (that sentence was what you British might call a pun - of sorts, anyhow!)

"Where there is discord, may we bring fiscal harmonisation,
Where there is error, may we bring political formalisation,
Where there is doubt, may we bring jargon (of the Euro-specific variety),
And where there is despair, may you lot simply get used to it."

"These are my heartfelt words and I hope you will understand where I am now coming from! Thank you.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

We're no wise-guys!

A newspaper magnate writes:

"I would like to comment on what I deem to be the somewhat inappropriate remarks made by a certain Mr. Watson during the select committee hearing that I had the good fortune to attend this week.

"Mr. Watson insinuated on a number of occasions that the behaviour of myself and Papa over recent years might well be compared (although not confined) to the various actions of our good friend and confidante Don Vito, whom, incidentally I have rarely met, and then only in circumstances where it was appropriate to discuss a recent baseball game or the declining state of European finances.

"Whilst it is commonplace for successful senior executives such as myself to "hang out" with wise-guys from time to time, this should in no way be taken to infer that Papa or I in any way condone the actions of such guys, which invariably, I am told, include the pursuit, surveillance and "taking out" of enemies and the planting of horses heads in bed-clothing in order to generate a sense of menace thereof.

"I can state quite categorically that, to the best of my knowledge, the organisation that Papa and I currently run is in most instances thoroughly "clean". Where certain indiscretions, like those indicated, but as yet unproven by the select committee, have indeed occurred this will have been simply on the basis of expediency. And those executives who have engaged in said indiscretions will have, for the most part, been dealt with in the appropriate manner (which, for the sake of confidentiality, I am not at liberty to divulge.)

"I hope that this sets the record straight. I trust that it is also clear from the tone of my statement herein that I do in no way display the style nor the nuances of a Capo (di tutti Capi or otherwise), but rather those of a Harvard man who has succesfully gone on to run a global media concern. As for Mr. Watson, I am unable in this instance to say how exactly we will respond to the allegations that he made this week. This is due to the fact that my organisation's code of honour expressly forbids me from doing so.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Euro if you want to

Poetry corner...

Euro, Euro, Euro your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile
Don't forget to reach some kind of negotiated settlement

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Dinosaur extinction linked to global b/s

Did a 10KM wide asteroid really end it for dinosaurs? Or could they actually have been wiped out by something closer to home?

This is a claim made by research scientists at UCBS who are suggesting greenhouse gases emanating from unfeasibly large faeces could have made life on Earth unsustainable.

The research focuses upon the enormous amount of methane released into the atmosphere each time Diplodocus or awesome T-Rex parked their breakfast.

What we do know is this:

- In a single year the average Guernsey cow releases 80 to 120 KG of methane into the atmosphere.

- A lone Diplodocus could have released 4.5 times that amount in a single week - and that's in a good week.

Earlier this year scientists at the University of Utrecht indicated a possible volcanic killer: a burst of methane gas triggered by volcanic greenhouse gases.

But could the real killer have been poor potty training?

(More on this BS from UCBS as it breaks...)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Global University

Coursework: The Long Term Benefits of Globalisation - Part 3a, Section 2.
Our very own Professor Gspot offers the following criteria for global economic harmony:

"Once the multiple and diverse economies of the global community have become fully and soundly integrated, the leaders of those individual economies will naturally find themselves not only committed to the spread of global enterprise and endeavour and the pursuit of wider wealth generation, but also the furtherance of a unified taxation strategy that ensures that the bailout junkies and the bounty hunting bankers - who dream of running off to Asia or Switzerland once the going gets tough - find they no longer have anywhere to hide. Unless, of course the terms of globalisation, as defined by Western leaders over the past decade, did not, or had not, taken this very taxation issue - along with all of the entrepreneurial running and the hiding - into account. In which case, what we globalisationists would find ourselves concluding is as follows: Your money is our money. And our money is our money."

Thursday, 3 November 2011

How To Spend It - A "Political Capital" special.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has scrapped his referendum on the European bailout. We decided to run our own poll - in conjunction with Political Capital's How Not To Spend It magazine - to uncover what's really at stake for the Greek peeps. To a thoroughly unrepresentative sample of putative Greek citizens we put the following question:-

When you dwell upon your illustrious past what kind of Greeks do you find yourself identifying with?

a) The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae?

b) The treacherous Greeks who'd sooner side with the rich, obscenely generous and fashionable King Xerxes of Persia?

c) The 300 Spartans at, er... Brussels?

The results are not yet in. They might never be. In.

But watch this space.

Et tu, Berlusconi.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Whips, by Harold Panter

According to the Guardian Newspaper, a sketch written by a 29-year-old Harold Panter and lost for more than half a century, has surfaced as a result of diligent detective work.
The sketch, set on the sunbathed terrace of a hotel and called Whips, is Panteresque. And the designated pauses are something of a give-away, or so we're told...

Two gentlemen politicians in deckchairs sit on the terrace of a large hotel. Wearing shorts and sunglasses. Sunbathing. They do not move throughout the exchange

A: The heat is too intense for me today.


B: The heat?

A: The heat. In the house.


B: Well, you're damn lucky you've got your whip.

A: My whip, old boy?


B: The whip. You're damn lucky you've got the whip

A: Yes. Means the world to me. I never find myself at a loss. You understand what I mean?

B: You're a shrewd fellow, I'll say that for you.


A: My house is full of whips.

B: You can't have too many.

A: You've never said a truer word, old boy.


B: I haven't got one to bless myself with.


A: Well, I can foresee  a time you'll regret it.

B: I think the time's come, old boy.

A: You can't be too careful, old boy.


B: Well, you've got your feet firmly planted on the earth, there's no doubt about that.


A: I certainly feel secure, old boy.

B: Yes, you know where you stand, all right. You can't take that away from you.


A: You'll find they're a true friend to you, whips.


B: Maybe I'll buy one.


A: Don't come to me. It would be like tearing my heart out, to part with any of mine.


B: You find them handy, eh?


A: Yes ... Oh, yes. When the heat's intense, particularly.


B: D'you reckon the other side ever feel the same way about whips? About their whips?


A: I dare say they do, old boy. Regularly.


B: I bet some of them would love to use their whips on us. Occasionally.


A: I bet they would.

B: And, of course, some of us would love to use our whips on them.


A: Some of us would love them to use their whips on us. Occasionally. If you catch my drift.

B: I think I do. Catch your drift.


A: But. Perhaps there's a third way.


B: A third way? Or a third whip?


A: Correct, old boy. A third whip.


B: That's where I thought this was leading.


A: Really?

B: Yes. Leading to a third whip.


A: Really?

B: Yes.


A: You must remember one thing, old boy.

B: What's that?


A: What we're talking about is very different to a "three line whip". Would you agree?


B: Indeed I would.


© The estate of Harold Panter 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

Clause Four Moment?

Unions? Union?

Cameron faces down Euro-sceptic Conservative rebels. Is this his plus fours moment?

Friday, 7 October 2011


Unemployment is on the rise. Jobs is dead.

The genius Steve Jobs revolutionalised gadget-dependency and showed low-paid workers in China how to control their destinies by leaping out of windows. (Not "Windows")

The purveyor of this website thinks satire might also be dead - news content is farcical these days.

From now on you'll find only poetry.

Here's one sent in by a certain Mr Kipling, who, I'm advised, is a purveyor of exceedingly good cakes:-

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

International Relations Examination: Paper 3a - Rogue States

This is a multiple choice question. Examinees should choose just one answer

What policy should Western governments adopt when dealing with rogue states? Should they -

A) Do nothing?

B) Apply sanctions?

C) Enforce regime change?

D) Support rebels seeking regime change?

E) Embrace leaders of rogue states furthering economic / diplomatic ties facilitating rendition / torture of rebels seeking regime change?

Reminder: Please choose just one answer

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Catch 22-3

As politicians, journalists and (two-handed) economists furiously debate the merits of yet another round of quantitative easing (QE-3), one question is: Will the currency devaluation it generates make the economy more competitive globally? And what happens to that competitiveness if or when other countries follow suit?

The dilemma facing decision makers right now is like something out of Catch-22 (the scene where Yossarian explains his outlook on life to Danby).

"From now on I'm thinking only of me."

"But, suppose everyone felt that way."

"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?"

(We don't need no) regulation

A banker argues the case against further regulation:

"Don't you guys get it? Even if you're right and complaints against banks have hit a high, and even if we are giving Triple A ratings to sub-prime mortgage investments once again, and even if we do find ourselves being investigated for Libor manipulation, and even if we are the only guys creaming it while everyone else is trying to make ends meet... regulation just isn't the answer. Regulation simply hurts the economy. Which none of us wants. Right?

So go easy on yourself. And us."

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Here are the five most viewed items of the past six months:-

The makers of Pro-Espresso EcoVitalian TM have developed a revolutionary new product designed to target male-related signs of ageing.

PRO-Luxe Caffeine Refining Potion Pour Homme is a unique serum formulated at our laboratories in Copenhagen and is derived from 100% (depleted) extract of Venezuelan Arabica coffee bean-dust - considered by many to possess invaluable age-ravaging properties. (Continued…)

The world's leading banks held billions of dollars on behalf of Colonel Gaddafi's regime, it was revealed this week. Here the Colonel gives us his "take".

"I like to thank these banks that were keeping my money safe during financial crisis that was happening in 2008. These, they were difficult times for everybody, not least, for great leaders of great nation like myself, who have invest so much money in your highly respectable banking institutions. (Continued…)

"It's obvious to anyone (such as myself) who knows a thing or two about the citizens of the capital city as well as of this country, and especially the young citizens moreover, that this outbreak of violence we're seeing around the country is due to the vicious cuts perpetrated by this coalition government. Just because these cuts haven't actually had any impact yet is neither here nor there. It's the prospect of these cuts having an impact that is worrying young people and getting them onto the streets to protest, burn down buildings and steal plasma televisions and Adidas running shoes. (Continued…)

Okay folks, let's not get too worked up about the financial meltdown facing the economies of Europe and America right now. At least the banking sector is raking it in again - so much so that we bankers have been able to pay ourselves 14 Billion in bonuses over the past year. (Continued…)

"I would like to make it clear that our decision to hold the Tripoli Grand Prix is in no way influenced by financial considerations in any way, shape or form. I myself and my fellow executives have given all of the relevant factors due consideration and have decided that the best way of reaching out to the Libyan people in their time of need is quite evidently to give them a Grand Prix they will remember. (Continued…)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Superb investment opportunity!

Standard and Poors stripped the US economy of its top sovereign rating earlier this month. But it has just given a triple A rating to a new issue of bonds tied to the sub-prime mortgage market - the kind of financial instrument that screwed the US economy in the first place.

So who exactly does rate the ratings agencies?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Bankers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but cocaine!

Peter Oborne? Charles Moore? These days it’s the right (not the left) we find meditating upon the excesses of capitalism. Maybe we never had a free market in the first place (under left... under right...)

Here’s a perspective (re-hashed from the archives).

Bankers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but cocaine!

“Brother Bankers! Faced with the unrelenting tide of criticism and abuse emanating from the capitalist media on a daily basis, I call upon you today to be resolute. I urge you not to waver, not to cower, but to stand firm and show solidarity with your brother bankers worldwide. For we have a strength that far outweighs that of our enemies. And that is the strength of numbers.

“Now when I say numbers, I do not mean how many of us there might be. For we are, of course, an oligarchy and we number relatively few in the grand scheme of things. Nor by numbers am I referring to the size of the bonuses we receive. Though these do indeed comprise many, many numbers - telephone book sized numbers by the sarcastic reckonings of some wags in the media.

“No, I’m talking about the ability of us brothers to use numbers to our own advantage - to shape a new reality out of numbers, to forge a new numerical Jerusalem if you like. For we have shown that we can create “value-added” out of numbers. We have shown through our efforts we can create a bold and booming housing sector by making the value of those houses rise significantly year on year. We did this through the clever invention of those credit derivatives that we traded to our hearts’ content some years back. We've also shown we can take the money that government printing presses have been churning out since 2009 and we can use that money to sell back to the government the debt we'd purchased previously. By this means we were able to charge commission not once but twice and made a handsome profit. And though no real value was created, we nevertheless managed to create our very own kind of “value-added” that we call "massive bonuses". And with those massive bonuses we paid our taxes, or not as the case may be. And remember, those taxes are what really matter to ordinary folk and to governments alike - assuming we actually pay them!

“So fear not brothers. For we can make two plus two equal five, two billion plus two billion equal five billion. And, let me tell you, those numbers, however they appear, will always win over the trust and the faith of people. For we understand the very numbers that make up those numbers... whilst the people, whose money we control, do not!

“And if indeed these naysayers in the capitalist media carry on with their gripes and their attacks upon our very person or persons, then we’ll take our numbers and head off to the lands of the orient to build an even greater numerical Jerusalem, and an even greater oligarchic collective to boot.

“For over there in the orient they behold with even more wonderment the power and the value of numbers. Over there they understand the importance of brothers like us who control the money supply using the armoury of those said numbers that I've described. Okay, so they might not tolerate the coke-sniffing activities in which some of our number occasionally partakes and they might imprison folk for such activities. But that is a small price to pay, Brothers. For control of the money supply is the greatest drug of all!

“Was it not Brother Nathan Rothschild himself who once said two centuries ago: "I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply."

“Never a truer word was said brothers. And these days we have a far wider reach than the British Empire, or, at least, those countries that once made up said Empire. These days, thanks to the benefits of globalisation, we can extend our reach to all the Empires of this planet!

“So brothers, stand firm! Be true to yourselves (even if not to anybody else)! Be resolute! Show solidarity! And, brothers, last but not least, get you down to your local Porsche dealership and buy yourself a nice little run-around before the prices go up!”

Sunday, 21 August 2011


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Monday, 15 August 2011

The Generation (Blame) Game

“Nice to fleece you, to fleece you nice.  This is the bit where people tell us who they think’s to blame for last week’s UK riots. See how many of these opinions you find yourself agreeing with. There’ll be a test for you at the end. Probably.”

Young person:  I blame the older generation for not listening to the demands of young people and leaving us with no hopes nor dreams for the future.

Prime Minister:  I blame the policies of the last government that led to the slow motion moral collapse of our society.

Opposition leader:  I blame the feral elite - bankers, phone hackers, dodgy coppers, expenses-fiddling MPs – for setting a bad example.

Investment banker:  I blame politicians for failing to get to grips with the harsh economic realities. Which means:  You mess with our bonuses and we’ll take our business elsewhere.

Newspaper magnate:  I blame corrupt politicians, greedy bankers, vacuous celebrities and police-on-the-make for creating this moral wasteland in the first place.

Senior police officer:  I blame ministers for cutting police numbers, even though they haven't cut them yet. What really counts when it comes to policing is quantity not quality. Well, that and having faith in the police to do their job in the first place, whatever that is.

Ex-Headmistress:  I blame social theorists who, for too long, have undervalued discipline in Britain’s schools.

The ghost of Lord Reith:  I blame the makers of reality TV shows like Simon Cowell who offer unattainable dreams and peddle the idea that 15 minutes of fame beats a decent education.

Simon Cowell:  I blame anyone who hasn’t got a dream. And I offer young people dreams. I offer them a way out of the ghetto.

Simon Cowell’s banker:  I haven’t a bad word to say about Simon Cowell.

Politicians:  Nor have we. None of us.

Newspaper magnate:  Me neither. He fills column inches.

Investment banker: The guy makes a shed-load of money. So, what can I say?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Riots - An ex-Mayor gives his take

"It's obvious to anyone (such as myself) who knows a thing or two about the citizens of the capital city as well as of this country, and especially the young citizens moreover, that this outbreak of violence we're seeing around the country is due to the vicious cuts perpetrated by this coalition government. Just because these cuts haven't actually had any impact yet is neither here nor there. It's the prospect of these cuts having an impact that is worrying young people and getting them onto the streets to protest, burn down buildings and steal plasma televisions and Adidas running shoes.

"When I was Mayor, I increased police resourcing and police numbers to an enormous extent. And you can see the beneficial effects this has had in recent months and years. You only need to think of the G8 protests or talk to the people of Tottenham to realise how successful my policing policy was. For example, the people of Tottenham absolutely love the police (or at least the ones I was responsible for putting there) and their rioting in recent days was not an example of their hatred of those policemen and policepersons, but rather their contempt for Boris Johnson who is more interested in attending black-tie dinners than caring for ordinary people.

"But there is another important matter here. And that is the one of respect. And by that I mean respect for drunk alcoholic young people. Over recent years, the young have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that when they fall out of pubs and clubs and start beating the crap out of people, the police show them no respect. This was evidenced the other day by one young inebriated lady in Hackney who said: "If the police doesn't show us no respect, then why should we show them any?" And I have to say that this fine lady with her no-nonsense attitude has a fair point.

"And the reason is this: People don't rape and pillage just because they want to, just because it brings them some kind of gain (although I have to admit that I wouldn't say no to a 42" plasma TV screen were I in Ealing the other night.) NO! They do it because they know that when everyone else is doing it, they’d be a fool not to.

"Do you think that, back in the dark ages, the Vikings raped and pillaged for some kind of arbitrary gain? Do you think the Vikings did it because they wanted to engage in some kind of drunken criminality where they all hoped they could go back to Denmark with sacks full of plasma TVs (assuming they had plasma screens in those days)?

"No! They did it because they felt frustrated by the lack of opportunity on their home turf. They were angry that the powers that be had no respect for their brutal, thuggish, drunken behaviour, which to some could be considered quite admirable in many ways. They, like all young greedy drunken yobbish people needed to let off steam now and again and gain the respect that they deserved.

"And last but not least, the Vikings came over here and raped and pillaged because, let's face it, they were totally and completely sick of the territorial ambitions and the dreams of empire that the ancient Britons possessed - even though they had no empire back then. But they would go on to rule the world. And with this in mind, they decided to teach the arrogant British a lesson.

"So, next time you see young persons engaged in drunken, wanton violence, spare a thought for the Vikings, and ask yourself this: Is what they are seeking nothing more than a bit of respect?”

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Financial Crisis - News in brief - Where did all the money go?

S&P downgrades US debt - The ratings agency Standard and Poors, renowned for the triple A ratings it gave to a pile of crappy credit derivatives instruments, is to downgrade US debt. Has S&P got it right this time round? Impossible to say really. After all, who rates the ratings agencies?

Jupiter Probe - The rocket has blasted off and is wending its way to Jupiter or Juno, or somewhere remote. Everyone's asking: "So, what's the payload?" Rumour has it the probe's stuffed full of dollars and Euros belonging to wealthy investors seeking a new off-shore tax haven. As the global economy falls apart, is outer space the next frontier for the planet's indifferent rich?

Tulips - Investors are looking far and wide for safe havens. We asked Rotterdam based investor, Ruyd Van  Dem Tulipshe where he'd park his money: "Vell, we Dutch are shimply shuperb when it comes to shee real shmart inveshting shtrategies. Remember folkshs, we shold our ABN bank to RBS back in 2007 - jusht in zee nicks of time. And now we Dutch are shinking zat zee tulip musht be zee next shafe havens."

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

News in brief: Celebs rule UK!

- Figures just released show a three percent rise in the number of primary school pupils achieving a grasp of the three Rs. This is proof, were it needed, that the celebrity culture we inhabit ain't as bad as it seems. But what are the three Rs, you ask? Er, like, obvious! Reading, riting and reality TV.

- Billions have been slashed from the cost of the useless NHS computer programme. Officials have found that by scrapping the project, launched in 2002, only £6.4bn will have been wasted as opposed to the entire £11bn. The software company working on the programme has called it a win-win situation. "We made loads of money trying to implement this useless idea. And now its mothballing has saved taxpayers billions."

Sunday, 31 July 2011


Even people who don't follow the Potter cycle will probably recognise some of the buzz-words, chants, charms of JK Rowling's fantasy world. The most memorable of these is "expelliarmus". This is uttered when one wizard seeks to "disarm" another.

It's sometimes used to comical effect as one wizard arrives on the scene and disarms another, only to find himself swiftly disarmed by a third wizard, who in turn is disarmed by a fourth wizard, and so on. For example, Potter enters stage left, waves his magic wand and disarms Sirius Black, then Snape strolls in, wand aloft, and disarms Potter; he is, in turn, disarmed by Remus, who is then disarmed by a renascent Potter - each wizard crying out the immortal phrase "expelliarmus" in the process.

It's a bit like politics (or Pottertics) really:-

Murdoch: (to Kinnock) Expelliarmus!

Mandelson: (to the trots) Expelliarmus!

Blair: (to Major) Expelliarmus!

Brown: (to Mandelson) Expelliarmus!

Bush: (to Saddam) Expelliarmus!

Brown: (to Blair) Expelliarmus!

Johnson: (to Livingstone) Expelliarmus!

Taxpayers: (to bankers) Expelliarmus!

Obama: (to Bush) Expelliarmus!

Journalists: (to expenses-fiddling MPs) Expelliarmus!

Electorate: (to Brown) Expelliamus!

Egyptians: (to Mubarak) Expelliarmus!

Libyans: (to Gaddafi) Expelliarmus!

Watson: (to Murdoch) Expelliarmus!

Cameron: (to Coulson) Expelliarmus!

Murdoch: (to Wade) Expelliarmus!

Wade: (to NOTW journalists) Expelliamus!

Select Committee: (to Met chiefs) Expelliarmus!

There's a lot of this "disarming" goin' round these days. Where it'll end is anyone's guess. One thing's for sure: JK herself is unlikely to be disarmed any time soon. No doubt she's already planning her next work. And of one thing you can be sure: It'll certainly "disarm" her readers. Unless it's another Potter novel of course.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Quick holiday quiz

Here are the answers to our quick holiday quiz:-


Q: How do you distinguish a decent journalist from a rubbish one?

A: The decent ones write about Murdoch and the hacking scandal, the rubbish ones write about Murdoch's wife Wendi.


Q: How do you get the Hadron collider back into the news?

A: Announce that scientists have caught a "glimpse" of the Higgs Boson "God particle". (No doubt they'll be catching "glimpses" for years to come.)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Crisis? What crisis?

Okay folks, let's not get too worked up about the financial meltdown facing the economies of Europe and America right now. At least the banking sector is raking it in again - so much so that we bankers have been able to pay ourselves 14 Billion in bonuses over the past year.

Now that can't be bad, can it? Just think of the tax take that'll flood in from our massive bonuses - assuming we don't stash our dosh off-shore, which we probably will, on reflection. And anyway, who cares if we do? We'll still be spending our precious pounds and bucks on luxury goods items, expensive motor cars, yachts and large houses in West London. And that'll give a much needed boost to the retail and housing sectors. Right?

We bankers call this trickle-down. And it's proof that paying bankers enormous piles of cash really does work!

So... So long, Eurozone suckers. We'll be partying in Rio this summer if you need to get hold of us!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Wapping lies

Responsibility for the conduct of Scotland Yard ultimately resides with the Home Secretary. Bearing that in mind it is perhaps reasonable to ask under whose watch the "cosy" relationship between the Yard and News International executives actually flourished.

Jack Straw: You're not suggesting it was under my watch, are you?

David Blunkett: I feel it would be inappropriate at this time to comment on whether it was under my watch.

Charles Clarke: It couldn't possibly have been under my watch, could it?

John Reid: I think I can quite categorically state, with some degree of certainty, that none of this occurred under my watch - at least to the best of my recollection.

Jacqui Smith: Are you honestly suggesting that it could have happened under my watch?

Alan Johnson: Er, listen mate, ask no questions, tell no lies. 'Nuff said!

And under whose watch were the investigations into misconduct finally launched?

Theresa May: Under my watch.

As they say: 'Nuff said!

Friday, 15 July 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Bin Laden was hacked!

Relatives of Osama Bin Laden are claiming News International hacked the mobile satellite phone of the Al Qaeda leader while he was hiding in the Tora Bora mountains.

A spokesman said: "Nobody's bothering to investigate this story, but it's probably true - all of it." Elsewhere, quasi-post-neo-con journalist David Aaronovitch has noted: "This is proof, were proof needed, that Rupert Murdoch achieved the kind of penetration most politicians can only dream of."

(More on this breaking news later...)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hack soup or lobby bisque?

Hardly a day goes by without some shocking new revelation about phone hacking and the cosy relationship that's existed between police, politicians and senior newspaper execs over the past few decades. But bloggers like Guido Fawkes have gone one step further and reminded us that cosy relationships were never confined to the newspaper industry. Every corporate CEO considers it his duty to put pressure on politicians and influence policy-making. And of course it's the lobby system that facilitates this process.

Here are few posts from the archives that looked at this "issue" back in 2010:-

"F*** the Rich!" - says senior politician.

A high-ranking politician has proclaimed that, despite "flirting with the filthy rich" for some time, he now believes that they are in fact parasites who exploit society, who assume that all politicians are for hire, and who have totally shafted this nation over the past decade.

The politician, speaking strictly off the record, said today: "When I started out in politics, I viewed the rich as greedy bastards who exploited the masses. But I soon realised that they had to be understood if we were ever to achieve power. I went to great lengths to see the world through their eyes. I moved in their circles, ingratiating myself as I went. I even accumulated my own moderate cash pile, just to get a sense of what made them tick. And I liked what I saw. These guys were cool. They had yachts and houses and all kinds of fabulous possessions. They were the new "rock and roll". And I wanted to be a part of it. (more...)

Careers Handbook - No.86 Member of Parliament 

Why become an MP? The common answer is, "I want to give something back to society." And for most MPs this means generously lavishing policies generated by think-tanks and focus groups on communities that want solutions to simple problems such as crime and anti-social behaviour. In certain instances policies might be the product of long cherished beliefs, although this is becoming less common nowadays.

An important reason for becoming an MP is of course the desire for power, though this is not always possible for those MPs who languish for most of their lives on the back benches. It is generally accepted that high office is best achieved through frequent displays of sycophancy. An ability to jettison one's conscience, or better still, to have it removed before entering the House, is prerequisite as only those who vote consistently with the government are in with a chance of reaching Cabinet. (more...)

Why MPs are NOT whores

Channel Four's Dispatches has revealed Senior Labour politicians are willing to offer their services for cash. Despite the outcry this has caused, it is nevertheless wrong to liken MPs to whores simply because they are 'for hire'. Here are some points worth considering:-

- Whores are by and large willing to adopt any position - relative to pay. MPs are by contrast principled men and women who enter Parliament having adopted a specific position, and from this they rarely shift. It therefore follows that no amount of money would encourage an MP to, say, role over and "take it from behind" - unless, of course, that were already their adopted position. (more...)

Health Warning: Cloned politician entered food chain at least 20 years ago!

As the Food Standards Agency (FSA) claims beef from a cloned bull has entered the food-chain, an even greater threat may actually be facing people: The cloned politician.

Political commentators say large numbers of genetically identical politicians may have been allowed to roam freely within the "Westminster Village" for perhaps the past two decades or more. These claims come amid recent concerns that politicians are displaying alarmingly similar character traits from generation to generation, both before and after office. The commentators have cited the following examples:-  (more...)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

In the dock, green

"Evenin' all. You know, when I started out as a bobby on the beat, there was something we used to call "the long arm of the law". What it meant was, however smart your average criminal might think he was and whatever lengths he might go to to evade arrest, there was one thing he could always be certain of: We would always catch up with him in the end."

"Of course these days the old long arm of the law has turned into what people might call a prosthetic limb: You never know if it's going to work properly, let alone what its reach is going to be. That's how the old business of policing has changed since I started out. It's no longer about simple detection and finding your man and then putting him behind bars. A lot of other things now enter into the equation that make it much harder to make an arrest.

"But even if that is the case, I have to say I still sometimes find myself wondering why it took so long for the force to investigate this "phone hacking" that we're hearing so much about nowadays. An old bobby thinks to himself that when those private detectives and those newspaper reporters started poking their noses into the affairs of important members of government, somebody in the force - or somebody elsewhere perhaps - should've sat up and taken note. I think to myself, why didn't anyone act earlier? That's serious business, that is, when it comes to people in government being affected. No two ways about it.

"I don't know, maybe nobody wanted to believe it was really happening. Or maybe they knew it was happening, but wanted to see just how far it would go if they carried on doing nothing about it. But that doesn't really make much sense to me. I mean, what reason would they have for acting like that? One thing I do know is that it's very strange for something like this to go on for so long, without anyone in the force being asked to investigate it both thoroughly and properly. And that's what really stumps me."

"Blimey, maybe this was all the fault of certain people in power who simply wanted to replace good old fashioned policing with that other approach they used to call "softly softly". Or then again maybe it was the fault of those people in power who wanted to show that "softly softly" doesn't work and who actually wanted any old excuse to come down "toughly toughly" on the newspapers and shut them up or even shut them down for good. Well anyway, let's just all hope they don't come down on the newspapers so "toughly toughly" that we never find out the real reason for all of this happening in the first place. Now that really would be a shame, wouldn't it?"

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Trojan Piggy Bank - A Greek Comedy

The Trojan War dragged on; neither side could deliver the knock-out blow. The Greeks came up with a cunning plan. They made the Trojans a "peace offering" - a giant, hollowed out wooden horse. Little did the Trojans know, inside this equine gift lay scores of Greek soldiers. Despite some initial doubts, the Trojans eventually took delivery of the horse and in the dead of night the soldiers jumped out and opened the gates, allowing the Greek army to flood in and sack the city.

Some time later - a lot later in fact - the Trojans came up with a cunning plan of their own: They called it the Trojan piggy bank. This was an ingenious hi-tech counting machine that could make people believe that they had more money than they really had. The royal adviser explained it to the King:-

"You see, boss, these Greeks, they love their money. And not only that, they love anybody that deals in money - the guys they call the bankers."

"No kidding?"

"Yeah, these guys, the bankers, can't get enough of them, the Greeks. Treat 'em like Gods."

"Like Gods, eh?"

"You better believe it, boss. See, these guys, these bankers make a packet. They're the richest guys around, most powerful guys around. And that's because people depend on them, depend on them for everything."


"Like everything. They borrow from them, they lend to them. They entrust their life savings to them, they borrow fortunes from them. If they want to go shopping, it's the banks that let them do it. If they want to buy property, it's the banks they need to get the funds. Every single aspect of their daily lives depends on bankers and banking. Without them their whole world would fall apart."

"Interesting... Okay, so what's the deal?"

"Okay, so here's the deal: Way I see it is, if we could somehow convince these Greeks that this money they love could go for ever, convince them there was an inexhaustible supply of it, then they'd keep on burning this money up like there was no tomorrow. They'd keep on shopping. They'd keep on building and buying houses. They'd keep on spending, spending, spending. They'd become addicted to money like it was some kind of a drug or something. With me so far?"

"Think so. But how exactly do we convince them of that?"

"Okay, so here's the clever bit. We offer them this Trojan piggy bank I was talking about earlier. Don't ask how it works exactly. It's technical, full of algorithms and stuff."


"Greek word, boss."

"Greek word, eh? What does it mean?"

"Basically it's a clever piece of mathematical chicanery - gadgetry if you like - contained in this Trojan piggy bank. It allows these bankers to believe they can go on borrowing money, go on lending money. It allows ordinary folk to believe they can go on spending money. It allows politicians to tell people that these happy days, they'll never end."

"Right. Think I'm with you so far. And, then what?"

"Okay. The point is, it's chicanery, and that's all it is. It allows people to think happy days are here, but - and this is a big but - only if they keep on believing happy days are here. However if they start doubting happy days are here, then the whole Trojan piggy bank starts to crumble."

"I see. And then what?"

"Well, by then, everybody's so addicted to this so-called inexhaustible supply of money, and everybody has borrowed and lent so much of it, that if it runs dry, the whole of this Greek society of theirs, it implodes. They cannot function anymore. It's night night, sweet dreams."

"Or not such sweet dreams as the case may be."


"Okay, okay... I think I like it, this idea of yours."

"Thanks, boss. But, just one sec, here's the other clever bit."

"There's more?"

"Oh, yeah, there's more. See, in the meantime, while this Trojan piggy bank is working its magic, what we in Troy are doing is, we're building up our reserves of money. We're saving, saving, saving, not like these Greek guys who are spending, spending, spending. We'll be working hard to earn it I grant you - it'll be no picnic. But, at least at the end of it, we'll have something to show for it. And so, by the time these guys have wrecked their society with their addiction to money, we'll have a stack of new money ready to offer them."

"Okey dokey. And then what?"

"Well, then we march in there, not with soldiers but with our money, with our largesse, and we clean up."

"What if they don't want to sell?"

"They'll have no choice, boss. They'll need our money."

"Yeah, I like it. I really like it. But this all depends on their bankers and their politicians buying this Trojan piggy bank idea, right?


"And, do you think they will?"

"I'm sure of it."

"How so?"

"You see, it's all about greed, boss. In the early days, these bankers will make a packet out of all this chicanery. The politicians will be more popular than they've ever been - at least for a while. And by the time everyone realises what a pile of horsecrap this piggy bank is, it''ll be too late."

"Too late."

"Too late."

"You know what? I love it. Really love it."

"Thought you would, boss. It's a beaut, ain't it?"

"Sure is. And I think we should run with it."

"Great, boss."

"Although, there's one thing I still don't understand."

"What's that, boss?"

"The Greeks called their horse the Trojan horse, because they were offering it to Troy. By that account, shouldn't we call our piggy bank the Greek piggy bank?"

"Nah, boss. The word "Trojan" is common currency these days. It's a way of describing any piece of chicanery of the kind we're discussing."

"Okay, I'm with."

"Thought you would be."

"So, Trojan piggy bank it is."

"Yeah, boss. Trojan piggy bank it is."

(to be continued...)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Conspiracy theories... from the crypt

It's summer, season of repeats - for television, at least. Maybe the blogosphere should adopt a similar approach and re-post archive material. What's sauce for the Beeb can be sauce for the blogger? Surely?

Now, that much-loved quasi-meta-post-neo-con journalist David Aaronovitch has recently written a book debunking conspiracy theories. And he may be on to something. The old conspiracy marketplace is chocka right now, so it probably makes sound economic sense to promote an alternative viewpoint.

And with that in mind, here's a re-post of an old item about conspiracy theories...

Monday, 30 November 2009

Intel. A chip off the old Bloc

My handler told me: no names. My post, the first 'intelligence blog' to appear on the web - to the best of my knowledge - won't mention pseudonyms, cover-names, pet-names, pen-names or code names. I told 'Z' - not my handler's real "code-name", simply a smokescreen - that I'm more interested in what people do than what they’re called. And 'Z' told me, I can't mention what they do either.

So anyway, what is it we get up to in our 'community'? Though of course I can't tell you the precise details, I can hint: We follow people. We follow you. We follow you, just as you follow us. Yes, we know you follow us. How do we know you follow us? Because we see you every day, scanning, searching, logging on to certain sites – I’m not talking just intelligence websites, but also affiliates sites (intelligence or other). We know how you think. We even know how you will think before you think. How so? Yes, how so?.

It’s what you people refer to as 'conspiracy theory'.

Right now the intelligence community is concerned the conspiracy theories we know and love are losing traction, they're out of control. Why's that? What do I mean by "out of control"? I'll phrase it in a way that's not what you’d call prosaic, not literal: But what I mean (if you'll allow me to mean something) is, too many conspiracy theories spoil the broth. And I hear you say, literal? Prosaic? What this guy's just given us is a mixed metaphor - pure and simple.

Perhaps. But it is a mixed metaphor that I wanted to deploy for quite some time. And why? Because I know it'll distract you, just for one moment, from what I'm leading on to. Have you got that? Probably not... but then again, you might've just about got it, I think, and you might be afraid... if you happen to be that person whose IP address (starting 134.135...) vanished from my monitor just 0.93 seconds ago! Don't worry, we can follow your IP, even after its vanished!

Anyway, so here we go: We invented conspiracy theories and we invented them to make you afraid. You don't realise this, you probably cannot accept it right now, and you probably never will. But it's true. We always wanted you to think that nothing - no thing - controversial happens unless a powerful organisation makes it happen... Unless a covert governmental agency, or a foreign terrorist cell, planned it that way. And you've always bought that notion. But one day, my friends, you ran too far with that notion, these theories, and you made them your own, your own theories. Now that cannot be right, can it? They are not your theories, they're ours. We created them. So hey guys, could you please just give us back our darned theories? (Okay - that's somewhat tongue in cheek, in case you didn't capiche.)

Or... don't you guys just f- get it? You see, if you can get all your heads round 'information overload', why can't you get them round 'conspiracy overload'? Who the hell will believe these conspiracies any more if, for every famous death, there are ten thousand theories? Next year, there will be a hundred thousand theories for some guy who's one tenth as big. And maybe, one day, there’ll be millions for just your average John Doe. No one will believe these theories any more. They'll be meaningless. And where's the point in that?

So, cool your jets, boys and girls. Cut the theories. If you want anyone to believe in anything ever again, then stop dicking around with all this, 'my belief's as good as the next guy's' shit. Some things are true and some things are not - except when we, and only we, insinuate that they are. And if you keep on spreading too many of your own goddam theories, then maybe we'll find who you are, we'll track your IP addresses, because we’re starting to think that the only reason you'd possibly want people to stop believing in our theories (by spreading so many of your own) is because you are the enemy. The real enemy. The enemy of a community that does theories good and proper.

See, that's the point: The silicon chip, the internet, the web, they were never meant to be about democratizing things like knowledge and truth - or conspiracy theories for that matter. And that's because it's no longer a case these days of, ye shall know truth and the truth shall set ye free. It's, ye shall know what you need to know, and technology can set you free. But first you have to learn how to use technology. And that, as we all know, is a discipline. Right, disciples? Right.

Think about that. We do. We think about it. Every day.

And ask yourself one last question - assuming you've read thus far: What did I mean earlier when I talked about my handler? Maybe, just maybe, I'm the handler, not the handled? And how do you know that anyone ever really told me what I could or couldn't say? After all, I've said quite a lot, have I not? But you'll have to answer that one yourselves, guys.

Yours abidingly and faithfully, Colonel Kurtz (And if you want to believe that's my real name then be my guest. In actual fact, it really is. Yep. Francis F. (the other Francis F.) stole it from me, not the other way round!

PS. A friend of mine tells me this: Next year, a butterfly will flap its wings in the Brazilian rain forest and there’ll be a million theories as to why it did so. But, in reality there's only one theory that's correct, guys. Only one. Think about it.

(On this occasion our 'intelligence blogger' very kindly agreed to provide us with his real name on account of the fact that the "trademark" on it had expired. However we are not convinced that it really is out of trademark and are therefore witholding it)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

From the archives: Redemption

The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne claimed Labour won't win the next election unless it admits mistakes and learns lessons. "Oppositions that stay in opposition for a long time are the parties that fail to confront the weaknesses the public see in them," he says.

Of course redemption is always to be welcomed. There's precious little of it about these days. And it's not just politicians who are to blame. Think of the high profile bankers, celebs, footballers and their poodle judges for whom redemption is inconceivable. And often when public figures do embrace it, they are criticised for being weak or vacillating.

Anyway, here's an old post from way back in 2009 that addressed the issue. Not much chance of redemption back in them days... (Apologies to Yes, Minister.)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hacker... Humphrey... 20 Years on...?

Hacker:  Do you know what, Humphrey? When I look back and I remember the frustration I used to feel when the likes of you and Bernard blocked or stalled what I was trying to do... And when I eventually decided that the only way to make things really happen was to clip the wings of civil servants like yourself, and the wings, for that matter, of the other individuals and institutions that wanted to keep things just as they were... And when I then consider how we placed certain special advisers above civil servants and concentrated power in No.10 - because we were elected politicians - When I think about how we used that power to force through certain policies, to respond swiftly, more dynamically to certain events, to act decisively, to act sometimes ruthlessly... when I think about all of that, and I then weigh up what it actually achieved, what it made better, versus how corrosive, how divisive it might have sometimes been, and when I see that politicians did not become better people, but they actually became worse... greedy, duplicitous, sleazy... When I consider all of those things, and recall the rows that you and I had back then, in the good old days, about change and intransigence... You know, I do rather find myself thinking from time to time that... this change we introduced, this sweeping away of the old orders, without creating a more moral, or even a more pluralistic environment... well, Humphrey... perhaps I wonder whether, just perhaps... it wasn't quite such a good thing after all...

Sir Humphrey:  No... Prime Minister.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Avoid "Snog Marry Avoid"

BBC Trust Chairman Chris Patten came in for criticism after he suggested money could be siphoned from BBC3 to make up the shortfall in BBC World Service funding. The Corporation as a whole is facing twenty per cent cutbacks, and difficult decisions will have to be made. Bearing in mind the Beeb is a public service broadcaster (PSB), where should our priorities lie?

Let's take a look at a typical Monday night schedule and decide which station best fulfils the PSB remit.

7.00pm - World Briefing or Don't Tell The Bride?

8.00pm - Americana (US news) ... or Snog Marry Avoid?

10.00pm - The Strand (arts review)... or Eastenders (repeat)?

11.45pm -  From Our Own Correspondent... or Young Rich And Househunting?

(Readers can work out for themselves which of the above are World Service programmes and which BBC3)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Breaking News - Archbishop shock!

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has stunned politicians and Christian congregations alike by claiming the Church of England is not and has never been the Conservative party at prayer. In a lengthy article in today's New Statesman, in which he attacks coalition policies, he also distances the CofE from Labour. He goes on to suggest that political parties travel less upon prayer as such, more upon a wing and a prayer...

(More on this breaking news later)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A word from our (esteemed) sponsor, Rene Silverstone

"I would like to make it clear that our decision to hold the Tripoli Grand Prix is in no way influenced by financial considerations in any way, shape or form. I myself and my fellow executives have given all of the relevant factors due consideration and have decided that the best way of reaching out to the Libyan people in their time of need is quite evidently to give them a Grand Prix they will remember.

"Colonel Gaddafi has assured me that his country will have a brand new circuit built in time for the race this October (assuming it isn't bombed to smithereens by NATO forces in the interim). He has also promised me that throughout the entire period of the race, he will suspend all tortures, shootings, executions (mock or otherwise), beheadings (full and partial), beatings and other generalised forms of repression.

"This is indeed a very great result and is very much in keeping with the spirit of our wonderful sport. If I, Rene Silverstone, through my humanitarian efforts can halt, or even postpone the forcible amputation of a single limb from being conducted by the Colonel's security forces then I will have indeed achieved my aim.

"For is it not true that the lion can lie down with the lamb? Of course it is! And if, after their brief period of reconciliation, the lion subsequently decides that the lamb would make an excellent supper (because he hasn't had time to go shopping or hunting that day) then who are we to judge? Reconciliation is above such considerations.

"And so is the race we know and love as the Grand Prix. It is above all of these worldly, trivial considerations - pecuniary considerations included!

"I hope that this clears matters up. Thank you.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Against all odds, Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of Fifa today. Those who voted for him were, of course, democrats to a man. After all, they have dedicated their lives to understanding the intricacies of voting. They know when, how, why and where to vote. You could say that they're professionals - professional voters, that is.

Although no one stood against Sepp Blatter, his victory was still decisive. That is because he was elected unopposed. And an unopposed election, it has to be said, is no less an election for all that. And that is what counts.

Now, this point is crucial. For football is the peoples' game. And the people are interested in nothing more than the game itself, a game many refer to as the "beautiful game". Do these "people", these lovers of the (beautiful) game really care whether some distant oligarch - a democratically elected oligarch, I should add - is filling his boots at the expense of the (beautiful) game and thereby making the game (indirectly) more expensive to enjoy?

Of course not! The people simply want to enjoy, they want to enjoy the (beautiful) game.

Do these people complain when the bread-maker mixes his flour with sawdust in order to increase his profits? Do the people complain when the circus comes to town and parents pay through the nose for an act their children forget within hours - assuming they like it in the first place?

No! Of course they don't. They just want to be fed, to enjoy, to draw in the richness of life.

So, before we all get on our high horses and start moaning about the bundles of cash that Fifa officials (allegedly) receive for casting their votes, should we not ask this simple question: What difference does it actually make to that game that we call the peoples' game, the beautiful game?

Nothing, I would wager. For, the people actually like, they enjoy paying through the nose for something they have not only learnt to love, but have learnt that they should pay through the nose precisely in order to love.

And who are we to judge? Who is anybody to judge?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011


BREAKING NEWS - Jacob Zuma takes on FIFA boss Sepp Blatter. Discusses orderly transition of power.

More on this political football soon...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Too big to fail

The world's leading banks held billions of dollars on behalf of Colonel Gaddafi's regime, it was revealed this week. Here the Colonel gives us his "take".

"I like to thank these banks that were keeping my money safe during financial crisis that was happening in 2008. These, they were difficult times for everybody, not least, for great leaders of great nation like myself, who have invest so much money in your highly respectable banking institutions.

"I also like to thank the politicians who, at this time, bailed out those banks and who made sure that the precious billions my family had hoarded, that they were not in any jeopardy. Me, my family, all of us, we had worked very hard over the many years since I had come to power to earn this money. We sweated hard, we were fighting hard, we struggle hard to skim off as much as we possibly could from my country and from its coffers, in order to ensure we could keep on funding and investing in the good causes that we believe in so much - like the paying of foreign mercenary to guarantee the stability of Gaddafi regime. So we give many thanks to your politician who make sure that these banks that hold our money, that they did not collapse. We give big thanks.

"But most of all, we thank your taxpayer, who was giving his hard earned money to the politician, who then gave it to the banks, who then paid some of it to themselves and who then also use it to secure and guarantee the money that me and my family, we invest with them. Without you taxpayer, how could we have survived? How could we have paid those mercenary? How could we have paid your companies for the crowd control weaponry that your government, it kindly sold us in 2009? We thank you Mister Taxpayer - most of all people - we thank you!

"Of course, since that time, the ground, it has shifted under our feets, and your current bastard politician, they are freezing the assets of the Libyan regime. They make it so that we cannot touch it, this hard-earned money. What is the point of that, I ask you, when it could be put to such good uses? What is the point, indeed?

"But, I suppose the money, it was good and worthy while it lasted. It was - for a while at least - still put to many good uses. And as they say with the money that you have on this earth while you are alive, you can't take it with you when you go, when you die. That is indeed what they say. And so, it is true, I suppose, that I wouldn't be taking it with me when I go, when I die either. Which probably won't be that long now."