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Archive for May 3rd, 2009

I write to you today from 10 Downing Street.  You can see me on YouTube. Gordon wasn’t about, so I am able to talk to you from the very room he addressed the nation in his bizarre video last week about MP expenses. It has been quite a week, but, as you can see,  I’m getting on with the job.

So… after doing his YouTube stunt, Gordon Brown then thought it might be a good idea to put a poll up on his Downing Street website. Unfortunately, this was another PR disaster.   Some 40,000 + people suggested to Gordon Brown that he should resign. As Guido put it…“When the digital engagement team in Downing Street came up with this wheeze they didn’t really think it through did they?  The coverage has been widespread and uniformly bad for Gordon”

I have no idea what Gordon Brown is on… but the next plan was to tell people just before a vote on the matter that Britain could not afford to let thousands of Gurkhas stay in our country after fighting for us (and knocking off a VC or three into the bargain).

Heresy Corner writes that all major political leaders have to have an enemy.  Tony Blair, Heresey Corner notes,  had Saddam Hussein (and Gordon Brown)… but Gordon decided to take on the Gurkhas – quite possibly the most popular consensus cause in the county at the moment – and well done to Nick Clegg of the LIB-Dems  for championing the issue.

Even David Cameron, who wrote to me personally (as he does every week since I joined WebCameron)  praised Clegg…. but added that ‘Last week we had the budget – when Gordon Broewn ran out of money. This week we’ve had the votes on the Gurkha’s and MP’s expenses – and now the Prime Minister has run out moral and political authority too.”

George Osborne was criticised last October for a jibe about the PM being ‘faintly autistic’, but clearly Brown, after a week when he went from ‘Hero to zero’, is in trouble and the men in togas are gathering, skulking in the shadows, daggers sharpened…. with thoughts of The Ides of March in their dark hearts. . .

The talk of Alan Johnson succeeding Brown now  to rescue what little credibility Labour has before the 2010 election  is dismissed by Johnson himself.  When politicians lie about their political aspirations and declaim that they have no leadership intentions,  I simply conjure up an image of Mace wielding Michael Heseltine all those years ago – but with Alan Johnson, he comes across as being quite sincere and believable.   The BBC reports this morning “Brown best man for PM – Johnson”.

My first thought when I saw the headline was that Boris Johnson was up to his usual amusing antics… but I should have remembered that now the Press tends to call him either Boris or Mayor Boris.

I feel that we have not heard the last from the Richard III of New Labour… Jack “The Lad Chancellor” Straw. Is he waiting for his time…?  Will Straw be the man who provides a horse for Brown to leave the Kingdom?

All this is well and good, but I understand that Jacqui Smith has not been given her P45 and is refusing to ‘take the blame for the Gurkha fiasco as she fights for her political life’.

Ms Smith, taking a break from poring over the John Lewis and Blockbuster video catalogues, is however, vowing to scrap a ‘big brother’ database – but a bid to spy on us all continues.  The Sunday Times reports: “SPY chiefs are pressing ahead with secret plans to monitor all internet use and telephone calls in Britain despite an announcement by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of a ministerial climbdown over public surveillance.”

It would take a month of Sundays (always wanted to write that in one of my Sunday postcards) to detail all the shenanigans of our leading politicians for this piece – so I limit myself to just one more from Boy Wonder… David Miliband, Foreign Secretary.

The News of  The World is hyperventilating this morning…

Plane stupid

David Miliband to fly like millionaire… but you’ll pay

NOTW reports: “As recession-hit Britain struggles under the weight of historic debt, Mr Miliband plans to travel in FIVE-STAR LUXURY rather than take scheduled flights. It means flying him to the US and back just once could cost £250,000. A spokesman, defending the extravagant move, complained: “Unlike other countries, we don’t have a Foreign Office plane.”

Smokedo:  For advanced masters

Regular readers may well be asking by now, having seen me concentrate on the arms and upper body muscle groups in previous Smokedo bulletins… well… what about the thighs and abs? Posed by a model (the cigarettes are also models) this technqiue is really only for advanced practitioners of the art of Smokedo.  No equipment, apart from a convenient lamp post and two cigarettes, is required.  Stylists would read while doing it, naturally.

And finally… for my report from 10 Downing Street

With all the talk of #Swineflu on twitter and elsewhere, I leave you with this, sent to me all the way from Australia by a very good friend of mine; a barrister – I have known her for many moons. She is Welsh  – and a fan of black humour… as….  I am.

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Lawcast 131: Aimee Barnes on corruption and business in China

China is emerging as a major world economic powerhouse but so few of us have any real knowledge of the legal system or the ways of the Chinese when it comes to business.

Aimee Barnes, a New York-based business strategist and writer is passionate about cross-cultural communications and the gentle art of negotiation. Her blog is a treasure trove of content for those with an interest in China.

We focus on corruption/Guanxi, business practices, case of Garth Peterson and what it means for expat professionals in China; opportunities and impediments regarding global expansion of Chinese companies (particularly around branding, advertising, and foreign partnership

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

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