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Archive for February 21st, 2010

Andrew Rawnsley – who I always enjoy reading on Sundays – has extracts of his new book The End of The Party in the The Observer today. He makes a number of serious allegations about Gordon Brown – summarised in The New Statesman.

The main five allegations:

1. The cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell – the top civil servant – launched his own investigations into Brown’s bullying of staff. After looking into it, he told the prime minister: “This is no way to get things done”. He took it upon himself to comfort members of staff and tell them not to take it personally.

2. Apparently Brown was consumed by paranoia after the cancelled election in 2007. After hearing about the loss of confidential data discs in November 2007, he grabbed Gavin Kelly, the deputy chief of staff, by the lapels of his jacket, and yelled: “They’re out to get me!”

3. Stewart Wood, a senior adviser on foreign affairs, received verbal abuse when he attempted to brief Brown about a Downing Street reception for European ambassadors. The prime minister reportedly yelled: “Why are you making me meet these fucking people?” before shoving Wood aside.

4. Rawnsley describes an aide cowering in fear that Brown was going to hit him after sharing some bad news while in the car, and writes that “the cream upholstery of the seat-back in front of Brown was flecked with black marks. When having a meltdown the prime minister would habitually stab it with his black marker pen.”

5. The prime minister’s relationship to Alistair Darling is portrayed as tense and troubled. Rawnsley writes that Brown flew into a rage after Darling said in an interview in 2008 that the economic crisis was the worst for 60 years. In a furious phone call, he told the chancellor that the crisis “will be over in six months”.

Gordon Brown refutes these allegationssee The Statesman piece.

There is only one conclusion to be drawn from this.  Rawnsley is not telling the truth and has opened himself to libel proceedings or Brown is not telling the truth?  It may be possible that I have missed something here with this analysis – and some spin doctor will be able to persuade people that both Rawnsley and the prime minister are telling the truth!
So… as I tend to favour the view, for the present (as is my right) that Rawnsley is unlikely to have written and published this material without checking with ‘impeccable sources’ – Brown should sue and have the matter determined by the courts.

He won’t do so, of course.  He will plead, as his Twitter Tzar already has, that he has ‘better’ things to do and will get on with the job.

I am not interested in the hysterical views of bloggers/tweeters/spin doctors – I would just like to see who is telling the truth – because if Brown has done these things it is clear to me, as a Labour voter, that he is not fit to be leader.  I believe that I still enjoy the right, despite being a labour voter, to express my distaste for the behaviour of the prime minister as described by Rawnsley and if it be proved on a ‘balance of probabilities’ that Brown is telling the truth and Rawnsley has libelled Brown – then I will change my view.

Rawnsley has been brave enough to put his reputation on the line – globally.  Is Brown?

And then I had this astonishing exchange with the Twitter Tzar… may have touched a nerve, there…. that’s the trouble with democracy… you can’t always control people or bloggers… and Kerry MP can certainly not control me now… I shall run RIOT!!

Ridiculous!

And then this came along

OK.. I’ve had my fun… orf to do some ironing…as my irony is not up to scratch….  but I still think Brown should sue if he wants me to believe him!

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The Tories are on a roll.  Another ripper of an idea has just entered the astonishing  mind of George Osbore and his team at the Laurel & Hardy Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The BBC reports:

The public could be offered discounted shares in state-owned banks under a “people’s bonus” plan outlined by Tory shadow chancellor George Osborne.

In a Sunday Times interview, Mr Osborne said the measure would be a reward for the £850bn of public money used to prop up failing financial institutions. Young people and those on low incomes would be offered extra discounts.

Labour called the plan an “expensive political gimmick”, while the Lib Dems said it was an attempt to buy votes.

Mr Osborne told the Sunday Times: “The bankers have had their bonuses. We want a people’s bank bonus for the people’s money that was put into these organisations.” It was expected people would be offered shares worth between a few hundred and few thousand pounds at a discount on the market price, the paper reported.

There could be extra discounts for young people, low-income families and parents saving for their children.

Osbore wants people to ‘save’ – what a  marvellous idea to get people who are already over stretched with debt to get into even more debt by buying shares in one of the most volatile shares in the market.

To be fair to Osbore he did say the share offer would only be made when the banks were properly regulated and could not take the kinds of risks that preceded the recession. It could be some time before we see hordes of people pushing prams and wearing tracksuits or impeccably kitted out in Boden or Hackett kit rushing to the Banks to buy the shares.  Given that the shares are only worth about a third of what the government paid for them – the economics are not looking too good.

I’m with Vince Cable on this one….

Encouraging people on low incomes to invest in a volatile share market shows how removed the Tories are from everyday reality
…A young couple on low income is more concerned with putting food on the table than speculating on the stock market.
Vince Cable
Lib Dem Treasury spokesman

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Dear Reader,

Twitter is awash with social media mavens who think they know more and think better than others.  The fact that many of the social media mavens may be American is inevitable. But the Brit ‘marketers’ are catching up fast with their snakeoil.  They have set themselves up as ‘mavens’ or ‘gurus’. Most of the ones I have come across don’t blog or their blogs are dull, don’t write entertaining tweets and don’t appear to have anything of any value whatsoever in terms of advice.

I am pleased to announce my Merdu du Boeuf award for webfuckery. This award is not given to an individual – it is awarded for a ‘concept’ .  The concept to win this, my first Merde du Boeuf award,  is OUTSOURCING TWEETS… or as the ‘gurus’ call it TWoutsourcing.  My attention was drawn to this ludicrous idea by fellow blogger Peninsulawyer – so Hat Tip to him.  He also tweets.

While I expect busy or cretinous celebrities (sometimes a celebrity may fall into both categories)  to get their memoirs ghostwritten , I really do not see why lawyers get serious law blogs ghostwritten (This is pretty close to fraud for it may mislead the reader about the lawyer’s ability and competence) and I certainly can’t see why anyone would want to pay someone to do their tweets for them – unless, of course, they are going to bore for England about their goddam products.

Oliver Jones is, obviously, an enterprising chap. He has set up  The Legal Marketer to help law firms get work.  He is prepared to tweet for law firms.  His argument is remarkably simple.  He says twitter is no different from an advert whether online or traditional print – so it is perfectly sensible for a law firm to get a ‘professional’ to do their tweeting for them. He does admit that twitter has other, social, uses.  These are are of no interest to law firms who simply wish to market.
I have no problem at all with advertisers – quite the opposite – they sponsor and help pay for the resources that my online magazine Insite Law provides for free.   I have no problem at all with law firms who use twitter simply to market their services. My remedy is simple – I don’t follow them.  If they follow me and I don’t like them or I am feeling capricious,  I block them.  Sometimes, if I am completely roaring on Rioja while tweeting…  I even report them for spam.  I know a lot of lawyers are a bit wet behind the ears when it comes to marketing their firms – but I can’t imagine they are daft enough to let a marketing firm loose on twitter on their behalf – unless, of course, they write all the tweets at a partner’s meeting for the month and send the list of tweets to the ‘guru’ to post at intervals!  Now.. that would be really daft, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some law firms are thinking of doing just that!

Mr Stone may have have succumbed to ‘Twitter selfimportanceitis’… I quote…

I read one tweet where somebody said that if they found out somebody was writing it that they would stop following!

Oh the sacrilege! That person probably thinks that because there is the lack of just one person tweeting, then a message is lost – there may be a brand behind it. Well the computer that you are typing on there… Neither Mr Hewlett or Mr Packard actually crafted it himself and moreover the channel that you use to tell me about your life is making someone some money somewhere so play the game, and be thankful that you tweet because you enjoy it, not because you have to.

I am, indeed, thankful that I tweet because I enjoy it and not because I have to!  Good luck to Mr Jones and the law firms who wish  to twoutsource to him!

Almost inevitably…

Twitter Sparks Its First Libel Action

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kurt Cobain’s widow, singer Courtney Love is at the center of a libel suit due to her angry Tweets against her former fashion designer, Dawn Simorangkir. According to a libel claim lodged by Simorangkir in Los Angeles Superior Court , Love carried out “an obsessive and delusional crusade” of malicious libel against her on Twitter, adding insult on MySpace and other websites.

And talking of libel… I received a tweet  from @IkenCEO a fellow twitter user asking for my view on Carter-Ruck representing the ‘good guys’ for a change with the comment… ‘that’s not on message’!

My own attempt to ‘twoutsource’ my tweets yesterday when I was recovering from overdoing the juice on Friday evening was met with this…

The reference to @DavidWrightMP was to Wright’s ludicrous attempt to say that his twitter account was hijacked when he tweeted about the Tories being scumsucking-pigs. This may well be true – but it irritated Eric Pickles, Conservative Chairman, so much so that he wrote to complain that Wright may have broken the ‘Ministerial Code’.  It also gave the Tory bloggers and tweeters something to get even hotter under the collar about.

Tory bloggers. gawd bless ’em, are almost wetting themselves with excitement at the prospect of a new Tory era – and they may well get it.  William Hague has, cunningly, been writing in the News of The Screws for two years (Paid / unpaid?) to get in touch with the Conservative Party’s working class side.

The NOTW reports today…

GORDON BROWN is deliberately wrecking the country to sabotage an incoming Tory government, William Hague has claimed.

He accused the Prime Minister of taking Britain to the brink of bankruptcy to leave a mess for his successor. Mr Hague warned that Mr Brown had given up all hope of winning the election and resorted to planting economic booby traps. In an amazing attack, David Cameron’s deputy likened Labour ministers to a retreating army “poisoning the wells” as they fled. He said: “If he had actually planned to leave the country in the worst state possible, he couldn’t have gone about it better.

Good, however, to see that humour and romance are not dead over at Eversheds…. RollonFriday reported on this Email sent to Eversheds staff…

Sent: 12 February 2010 15:32
To: Department staff
Subject: Roses are red…..

Violets are Blue,
I’ve done my timesheets
How about you?

Big Brother Bank Accounts

Guido Fawkes and Ian Parker-Joseph alerted me to the latest brilliant plan from George Osborne – well, I assume he was involved in the ‘plan’, given that he appears to be Shadow Chancellor of The Exchequer.

The plan is simple…. let the taxman have direct access to everyone’s bank accounts so that they can tax you at source. I had a bit of fun with Ian Parker-Joseph yesterday, tweeting that I thought this was a good idea to help struggling companies!  I was in that sort of post-hangover sardonic mood. Ian is a Libertarian – indeed, until recently, Head of the Libertarian Party UK.  He is absolutely right, of course, to say that this is not a great idea.  Guido Fawkes agrees…. “If HMRC has an electronic trojan in your bank account it will move on from deducting from your salary to taking a cut of your eBay sales and tracking all your financial transactions.  Do you want the government controlling your bank account?  That is the ultimate goal of tax collectors the world over since before even the Doomsday Book…”

Given the way MPs behaved when they tried to suppress Freedom of Information requests on their expenses – it is, perhaps, likely that Osbore and others at The Laurel & Hardy Institute of Fiscal Studies will have ‘second thoughts’ should they be elected in May.

Well… the gulls are shrieking, the cormorants are diving for eels… and it is time now, for me, to sit outside a cafe on the King’s Road – at the World’s End end – and drink black coffee, smoke some Marlboros and read the papers.

Have a good week..

Best, as always

Charon

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