Sunday, February 28, 2010

And the FT's judgement was....



Oh, it was well-crafted, and well delivered, too. He just didn’t have anything to say.
FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - Tory pep rally with no notes and nothing to say

David Cameron: It is our patriotic duty to win election | Politics | guardian.co.uk

A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times revealed that Labour has closed the gap on the Tories to just two points, with the Conservatives on 37% and Labour on 35%.
David Cameron: It is our patriotic duty to win election | Politics | guardian.co.uk
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US ECONOMY IN BOOM!!!! Maybe not.



The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 5.9% in the last three months of 2009, revised official figures have shown.

The rate is higher than the first estimate of 5.7%.

The figures confirm the world's largest economy is emerging rapidly from recession.

According to economists, the rise was down to an increase in manufacturing output rather than stronger consumer spending.

In fact, growth in consumer spending was revised down from 2% to 1.7% in the quarter.

Manufacturing rose to meet the demand from retailers and businesses who had allowed stock levels to fall.

Business spending on equipment and software, for example, saw an 18.2% rise, while exports of US goods rose by 22.4% - the fastest pace in 13 years.



BBC News - US economy sees upward revision


Maybe, maybe not.  This could be a hit the bottom bounce, or the US could be headed towards some good economic times.  After the last 10 years a change in direction could probably do nothing but good.

Cameron already out as Top Tory?

After polling evidence showed voters are confused over the Tory election strategy, George Osborne, George Bridges and Andy Coulson, all of whom favour a tax-cutting, "austerity" strategy on public spending, will take charge of day-to-day campaign management while Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron's director of strategy who favours more centrist policies, has taken a back seat, along with Mr Cameron himself.
Tories turn right to mend their broken poll lead - UK Politics, UK - The Independent


Yes you read that right!  Cameron is already being sidelined,  as PM will he be taking a back seat.  But look people, he can give a speech without notes. 

Depressed Tony Blair told Gordon Brown he would quit after Iraq war | Politics | The Observer

Depressed Tony Blair told Gordon Brown he would quit after Iraq war | Politics | The Observer
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If Labour is so terrible, why are Tories doing so badly? - Times Online

They think you are a public relations man — they’re not listening, I accuse him. “You have to work very, very hard to get anything across,” he replies. “That is one of the great things about our country: we are not all obsessed by politics. There are many more important things. This weekend there will be more people watching Aston Villa than my speech. Rather wish I was one of them. That’s a good thing. But a bad thing you have to work very hard to get something across.”
If Labour is so terrible, why are Tories doing so badly? - Times Online


The above David Cameron quote I think sums the man up fully. Huh? What? ..... Dah!

Tories turn right to mend their broken poll lead - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

In yet another turn in the Tory Story:



The Conservatives would abandon Labour's belief that "pumping" money into the most deprived areas is the way to solve Britain's social problems, a rising star of David Cameron's team says today amid signs that the panic-stricken party is turning to the right to curb a fall in the polls.

As the Tory leader prepared for his final conference speech today before the general election with the slogan "vote for change", a battle at the top of the party over strategy appeared to have been won by those favouring a hardline core-vote agenda.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, in charge of Tory plans to mend Britain's "broken society", says the party would send out a "strong signal" that "money is not always the answer" to deprivation. Using Thatcherite language, in an interview with The Independent on Sunday, she says a Tory government would oversee a "retrenchment of the state" – but the difference under Mr Cameron would be funding social entrepreneurs and volunteers to "reinvigorate" local communities.


Tories turn right to mend their broken poll lead - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

Some details finally.  This is probably just what they wanted all along, and it sure is change.  But in reaching back to policies that Thacher might have found right wing is the party really reaching to 21st Century Britain?

Also the idea that problems not solved by a little money would be solved by even less, or that poverty will be beaten by reducing the flow of money to poor areas is 30 years out of date.  It was tried, it did not work.  Tories may have critics of New Labour policies, but under New Labour millions of formerly poor people have seen their living standards improve.  Returning to policies that had far harder impact on the UK, say the Major Recession was just as painful to the people as the Thacher Recession despite a decade and a half of free marekt social engineering.



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BBC News - David Cameron tells of 'patriotic duty' to oust Labour



David Cameron is expected to declare that it is his "patriotic duty" to oust Gordon Brown when he speaks at the Conservative's spring conference.

The Tory leader is due to say the party has a duty to win because Britain is in a "complete and utter mess".

He is set to deliver his 40-minute speech without notes as he rallies the party for the general election amid signs their poll lead is narrowing.

The Conservatives have announced their election slogan is "Vote for Change".

The election must be held by June, but it is widely expected to take place on 6 May.

'Broken society'

Recent polls have suggested the Conservative lead over Labour may be narrowing, and Mr Cameron is under pressure to appeal to voters.


BBC News - David Cameron tells of 'patriotic duty' to oust Labour


So again we get the precise details from the Shadow Government. They must rule because it is there duty. Why is it their duty? Because the UK is in a mess? What kind of mess is the UK in? It has a broken society? What has made the society broken? Things start to go a bit woolly at this point but there seems to be an implication that "broken Britain" (when unemployment still is 2% below US) seems to be broken because of levels of public spending. Never mind that the the Tories did not say anything when the crisis was happening, now that they are out of power polling data as indicated that this is the one thing to be critical of right now.

And when will cuts come, how large, and is there a danger of public spending cuts coming too soon and harming the overall spending levels in the economy where the private sector is still holding back spending? Well this is where the crisp clean lines to Cameron come undone. All these silly little details.

But it must be said that the details of cuts and spending levels are the only drama of the keynote. The Tory policy is in a constant state of flux on this and it will be interesting to see if Cameron comes out with yet another goal post or if he is goin

Saturday, February 27, 2010

BBC News - Building the first 'Palestinian settlement'



Some have called Rawabi the first "Palestinian settlement".

Indeed when you look at the developer's slick promotional video with computer-generated images of the eventual city, it does actually look very much like a classic Jewish settlement, with neat rows of white houses spiralling round a hilltop.



BBC News - Building the first 'Palestinian settlement'
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BBC News - Eurosceptic MEP Farage in eye of storm



Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP group in the European Parliament, had said he did not want to be rude to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
BBC News - Eurosceptic MEP Farage in eye of storm


British EU MPs just seem to go lower and lower.  It is truly sad that the one member which sacrificed the most for the vision of a democratic peaceful Europe continues to be the most pathetic member of the Council as it runs.  Farage's comments show the low grade of human going in for this UKIP stuff, and the fact it was delivered with a clear educated English accent just brings more shame on the UK.  Bullying may be the order of the day in UK politics, but they don't go over the channel very well.
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If William Hague was leader, the Tories would be way ahead in the polls – Telegraph Blogs




Poor William Hague – if only he’d not gone it alone in 1997 he’d have one foot in Number 10 by now. Instead, he became Tory leader too early and at the wrong time, against an unstoppably popular prime minister whom the British public still believed wasn’t a creep and phoney. Rather than leading the party to a massive defeat in 2001, Hague would have been a fantastic deputy under the caretaker leadership of Michael Howard, ready to take over as Blair’s charm wore off and the full uselessness of New Labour dawned on the public.

Back when he was leader, Hague was laughed at for being too naive, too silly, too lightweight, and an electoral loser- my, how things have changed. Like the dowdy secretary who takes off her glasses and unties her hair, the electorate have awoken to Hague’s beauty as a politician: not only is he the best parliamentary speaker of his generation, bar none, his political instincts are spot on, and in tune with the British public (he was right about immigration and Europe back in 2001, as more people are now realising).

Most of all he has charm and likeability, which are qualities sadly lacking in the Opposition. It is not surprising that, as James Forsyth writes in The Spectator this week, the vast majority of Tory party members want Hague heavily involved in the election campaign.


If William Hague was leader, the Tories would be way ahead in the polls – Telegraph Blogs

Yemen threatens to chew itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat plant | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Yemen threatens to chew itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat plant | Environment | guardian.co.uk
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David Cameron prepares for hung parliament as lead narrows | Politics | The Guardian

David Cameron prepares for hung parliament as lead narrows | Politics | The Guardian
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Friday, February 26, 2010

David Cameron prepares for hung parliament as lead narrows | Politics | The Guardian



David Cameron has established a special unit to prepare for a hung parliament, amid growing fears among senior Tories that they will struggle to win an overall Commons majority.

As Conservatives gathered tonight in Brighton for their last conference before the general election, shadow cabinet ­ministers voiced fears that a narrowing in the polls had highlighted major weaknesses in the party's election strategy.

One influential member of the shadow cabinet reflected the jittery mood following a series of mistakes and policy confusions. "What's going wrong with our campaign?" the shadow cabinet minister asked. "Are we just making the odd mistake, or is there a deeper problem?"


David Cameron prepares for hung parliament as lead narrows | Politics | The Guardian

Oh just come out and say it, Cameron is clearly not up to the job. His management of this election scares me about what kind of leader he would make.

The last one was calling for a bullying investigation right after the National Bullying Hotline fiasco. That was just one in a long line of poor judgment calls that raise serious doubts about Cameron.

Then and now, the falling Tory fortunes




There was a palpable air of confidence at the Tory Party conference last autumn. Shadow cabinet ministers were pumped up with such high levels of optimism that they arrogantly thought the next General Election was already in the bag.

However, the mood this weekend is completely different as delegates meet for their spring conference in Brighton.

With just a few weeks to go to polling day, that previously healthy Tory lead has halved to around six per cent, not nearly enough to secure an outright victory. The misplaced triumphalism has gone - to be replaced by nervousness and even quiet desperation


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1254158/An-embattled-Cameron-needs-start-telling-Britain-truth.html#ixzz0ghhTxddn

An embattled Cameron needs to start telling Britain the truth | Mail Online

Flickr Search Safe makes Flickr safe for pedophiles? You decide



Does this demonstration prove that Flickr's Search Safe make pedophiles and sex predators safe? You see it does all a user to hide being member of many hard core and youth porn groups from young from other members who are using Flickr in Safe mode.

UK Economic Growth Upgraded



The UK economy grew by 0.3% in the final three months of last year, faster than previously estimated.

The revision was due to stronger growth in services and production.

The initial estimate released last month said the UK economy had grown by 0.1% in the last quarter of 2009, meaning it had emerged from recession.

However, the figure for the overall contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) during the recession was revised down, from a 6% fall to a 6.25% drop.

Prior to the October to December period, the economy had contracted for six consecutive quarters - the longest period since quarterly figures were first recorded in 1955.


BBC News - UK economic growth revised up to 0.3%

BBC News - Charity Commission investigates bullying charity



The Charity Commission is investigating the charity at the centre of a row over claims of bullying at Downing Street.

It said it had received more than 160 complaints about the National Bullying Helpline and had moved to prevent any more details of calls being disclosed.

Helpline chief executive Christine Pratt was criticised for saying it had been contacted by Downing Street staff amid claims about the PM's behaviour.

The helpline was suspended on Wednesday while the service considers its future.

Mrs Pratt spoke out last weekend following allegations in a book about Gordon Brown's temper and behaviour towards staff.


BBC News - Charity Commission investigates bullying charity


Comment from Cameron soon?  Monday the well established Bully himself Cameron called for an investigation after this charity made these statements. Now that it turns out the accuser is the one with the most to answer for where is the "honest" "new" politician who is going to regain the nations trust.

This ugly incident shows Cameron's bad habit of stepping in to messes, from the EU to wavering on commitments on spending and the economy and now to a bully investigation Cameron seems to be one of those rare humans with brains, but with not ability to reflect upon the potential consequences of what he may do.

BBC News - Children 'over-exposed to sexual imagery'



Children are being increasingly exposed to sexual imagery and their parents have limited opportunities to stop it, a report for the Home Office warns.

The report calls for tougher regulation of sexual imagery in adverts and a ban on selling "lads' mags" to under-16s.

It also recommends selling mobile phones and games consoles with parental controls automatically switched on.

Author Dr Linda Papadopoulos said there was a clear link between sexualised imagery and violence towards females.

Her report said the material children were being exposed to included the growth of lads' mags and pornography on mobile phones, through to big-name fashion brands using sexual imagery to advertise clothes targeted at young teenagers.


BBC News - Children 'over-exposed to sexual imagery'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Roger Ebert: Farewell to my London home | Travel | The Guardian

This is an absolute must for anyone with any love of London. Maybe even for those who hate it.
Roger Ebert: Farewell to my London home | Travel | The Guardian
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BBC News - German unemployment total sees small rise

The number of people out of work in Germany has risen by less than expected in February, according to official figures.
BBC News - German unemployment total sees small rise
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BBC News - Obama facing Republicans in live TV healthcare summit

The US is the world's richest nation and the only industrialised democracy that does not provide healthcare coverage to all its citizens.
BBC News - Obama facing Republicans in live TV healthcare summit
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BBC News - UK immigration from Eastern and Central Europe falls

The number of immigrants entering the UK from Central and Eastern Europe has continued to fall, according to the latest figures.
BBC News - UK immigration from Eastern and Central Europe falls
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BBC News - UK immigration from Eastern and Central Europe falls

The number of immigrants entering the UK from Central and Eastern Europe has continued to fall, according to the latest figures.
BBC News - UK immigration from Eastern and Central Europe falls
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Andy Coulson hit by new tabloid trick charges | Media | The Guardian

David Cameron's communications director, Andy Coulson, will come under fresh pressure to defend his editorship of the News of the Worldand his knowledge about the illegal activities of his journalists amid new allegations about the paper's involvement with private detectives who broke the law.

Andy Coulson hit by new tabloid trick charges | Media | The Guardian

Vancouver Journal - A $1 Billion Hangover From an Olympic Party - NYTimes.com

Well before the Games began, the global recession pushed several of the Games’s sponsors, including Nortel Networksand General Motors, into bankruptcy. Whistler Blackcomb, the resort that is hosting the Alpine skiing events, will soon be sold at auction.

Vancouver Journal - A $1 Billion Hangover From an Olympic Party - NYTimes.com

BBC News - Downing Street bullying row helpline suspended

A charity helpline which some members of Downing Street staff allegedly called to complain about bullying has been temporarily suspended.
BBC News - Downing Street bullying row helpline suspended
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MPs' attack provokes the wrath of Murdoch - Press, Media - The Independent

MPs' attack provokes the wrath of Murdoch - Press, Media - The Independent

Sharp decline in public's belief in climate threat, British poll reveals | Environment | guardian.co.uk

"Another likely factor was government action - or inaction - including the perceived failure of the climate talks in Copenhagen at the end of last year.Langley said: 'That's something we do hear when we're doing dialogue work with the public: if this is a serious issue, then why aren't politicians taking it more seriously? But obviously that can be a way for them [voters] to detract responsibilty from themselves.'"

Sharp decline in public's belief in climate threat, British poll reveals | Environment | guardian.co.uk:

UPDATE: UK Cameron: Voter Distrust Of Politicians Hurt Poll Lead - WSJ.com

LONDON (Dow Jones)--U.K. opposition leader David Cameron Monday blamed voter distrust of politicians for his party's inability to maintain a large poll lead, but said his Conservative Party can seal the deal with voters in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: UK Cameron: Voter Distrust Of Politicians Hurt Poll Lead - WSJ.com

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.  I guess getting charities to do your dirty work is the next strategy.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Revealed! The secret of the National Enquirer's success | Media | The Guardian

Revealed! The secret of the National Enquirer's success | Media | The Guardian

Target Cancer - After Long Fight, Melanoma Drug Gives Sudden Reprieve - Series - NYTimes.com

Target Cancer - After Long Fight, Melanoma Drug Gives Sudden Reprieve - Series - NYTimes.com

Britain heading for hung parliament – Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Guardian/ICM poll graphic, 22 February 2010.

Britain heading for hung parliament – Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Obama’s Plan for Health Bill Largely Follows Senate Version - NYTimes.com

Obama’s Plan for Health Bill Largely Follows Senate Version - NYTimes.com

About the National Bullying Helpline



Bully in Sight - How to predict, resist, challenge and
combat workplace bullying - Tim Field

Tim Field's unique insight into bullying, gained from personal experience, enables everyone to appreciate the causes, consequences and costs of this inappropriate but widespread management style which needlessly blights the lives of so many ordinary hard- working people. As one of the UK's leading specialists on workplace bullying, Tim regularly gave talks, presentations and training workshops, appeared on radio and television and was featured in newspapers and magazines. His work was pioneering and simply years ahead of its time. Christine Pratt, founder of The National Bullying Helpline, assisted Tim with content for his book and often assisted Tim with Employment Law content for his website also. See Acknowledgements, page xi of Bully In Sight. £16.95 + £2.30 postage and packaging

Anyone who has concerns about our operations is welcome to visit our offices. Don't make assumptions and don't believe an unqualified 'third party' who has never visited us and/or who may have an axe to grind. Our processes are open and transparent. Call today if you would like to visit our call centre. We would welcome you.

BOOKS

IS YOUR BOSS MAD? - Jill Walker. 'A Company is like a tree full of monkeys. The ones at the top look down and all they see is lots of happy faces smiling up at them. The monkeys down below look up into the branches above and all they can see are a...holes..." £12.99 + £2.30 postage and packaging only. "This book could save your life. It's a surgical handbook for managing your boss better than they manage you." Guy Browning. Guardian Columnist.

THE BULLYING PROBLEM - Alan Train. £12.99 + postage and packaging only. 'If you are anxious about your child's difficult behavior and think that this could be linked to bullying, you have shown initiative and courage in choosing to read this book. Most parents would prefer to deny that the child they love might be a victim..' Bullying wrecks lives - it can not only destroy children's happiness but also seriously damage children's capacity for learning and for enjoying school'. Esther Rantzen.

Order Now : Write to us. Send a cheque for the cost of the book plus postage and package to: The National Bullying Helpline. 15 Dorcan Business Village. Swindon. SN3 5HY and enclose your cheque to the value of the book plus postage and packaging. Don't forget to let us have your correct postal address.


About the National Bullying Helpline


Oddly enough for a helpline it has a shopping basket and offers more information for £10. 

Now none of this may be true, after all it does say "We never share your details with anyone else. All correspondence is confidential." which turned out to be a lie.

The big question though is why would members of the Civil Service working at No. 10 who has some of the best employee support in the world call a Swindon based service that was just founded about 2 years ago? 

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Coming Conservative Health Care Freakout | The New Republic

You can imagine how this feels to conservatives. They've already run off the field, sprayed themselves with champagne and taunted the losing team's fans. And now the other team is saying the game is still on and they have a good chance to win. There may be nothing wrong at all with the process, but it's certainly going to feel like some kind of crime to the right-wing. The Democrats may not win, but I'm pretty sure they're going to try. The conservative freakout is going to be something to behold.
The Coming Conservative Health Care Freakout | The New Republic
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"No" to child-sex tourism on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

"No" to child-sex tourism on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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BBC News - PM staff 'called bully helpline'

Several people in Gordon Brown's office have contacted an anti-bullying charity, its boss has told the BBC

Christine Pratt said "three or four" calls had been made to the National Bullying Helpline in recent years.

Earlier Lord Mandelson denied claims Mr Brown had been warned about his temper, saying he "doesn't bully people".

Ms Pratt said she was not saying the PM was a bully, but said some of his staff "have concerns". Downing Street has yet to respond to the claims.

It follows a separate story in the Observer alleging that the head of the civil service Sir Gus O'Donnell was so concerned he had a word with Gordon Brown about his behaviour towards staff.


BBC News - PM staff 'called bully helpline'

Time for Gordon Brown to go.  He has done an excellent job keeping the UK economy through this terrible economic time and all Brits are probably richer for him, but he has lost the nations confidence and his presence makes it possible an utterly unfit toff could become the George W. Bush of the UK.  I would hope to see Gordon gone by the end of this new week and Labour free to win this election.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

PurrVersatility

PurrVersatility

Well I think they all look lovel, but hte national average looks best.
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Dick Cheney isn't fighting Barack Obama; he's refighting his own long-lost battles. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

Cheney admitted as much in the ABC interview. Karl quoted from a 2006 Justice Department report that boasted about how many individuals the Bush administration had indicted and convicted for terrorist-related crimes. And Cheney replied, "Well, we didn't all agree with that."

This was when Cheney wrapped the noose around his neck. There was, he revealed, a meeting in the West Wing where "we had a major shoot-out, over how this was going to be handled, between the Justice Dept., [which] advocated that approach, and many of the rest of us, who wanted to treat it as … an act of war with military commissions."

***

What Cheney really wants is a restoration of torture and an evisceration of civilian control well beyond the point favored by even his own party's leaders and officeholders—even George W. Bush. His attacks on Obama are actually attempts at revisionist history, part of a campaign to elevate the issue as one of Republicans against Democrats, or conservatives against liberals—when, in fact, it's just Dick Cheney flailing at dragons that fried him long ago.

Dick Cheney isn't fighting Barack Obama; he's refighting his own long-lost battles. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine
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Internet note posted by man linked to plane crash | The Blotter

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

It will be interesting to see what the right wing makes of this. On the one hand, this guy is fervently anti-tax and anti-government, which they should love. On the other, he concludes his statement with the lines above which might present them with an irresistible temptation to cast him as a left wing terrorist and try to tie him to Obama somehow.

Internet note posted by man linked to plane crash | The Blotter
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This Modern World » Blog Archive » Corporate-Americans

This Modern World » Blog Archive » Corporate-Americans
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Gareth Thomas: 'I can handle a few wolf whistles from the crowd – it's just banter' - Profiles, People - The Independent

Gareth Thomas: 'I can handle a few wolf whistles from the crowd – it's just banter' - Profiles, People - The Independent
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Top economists hit back at Tories over spending cuts | Politics | The Guardian

Top economists hit back at Tories over spending cuts | Politics | The Guardian
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BBC News - Economists back delay on government spending cuts, 60 major Economist for Labour, only 20 for Tories. Yes I got that right.

More than 60 senior economists have signed two open letters that back the chancellor's decision to delay government spending cuts until 2011.

The letters in the Financial Times say that any measures to trim the budget deficit this year could risk dragging the country back into recession.

They are a riposte to the 20 economists who on Sunday, backed the Conservatives' call for cuts this year.

Those economists said cuts were needed in 2010 to reassure the markets.

They put this forward in a letter to the Sunday Times.

The Treasury recently said it it hoped the public deficit - the difference between government spending and the income it receives through taxation and other sources - would stay below £170bn for the current financial year.

Figures released on Thursday showed that the government had to borrow a further £4.3bn in January to help cover the deficit.

'UK's image'

Those signing the two new letters include two Nobel laureates - Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz - and five former members of the Bank of England's interest-rate setting committee.

One of the letters, organised by crossbench peer Lord Skidelsky, accused the authors of The Sunday Times letter of trying to "frighten" the public over the scale of the deficit.

It asks how "foreign creditors will react if implementing fierce spending cuts tips the economy back into recession".

"For the good of the British public - and for fiscal sustainability - the first priority must be to restore robust economic growth," it says.

The other, organised by Lord Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the London School of Economics, says Mr Darling's plan for reducing the deficit was "sensible".

"While unemployment is still high, it would be dangerous to reduce the government's contribution to aggregate demand beyond the cuts already planned for 2010-11," it says.

'Wrong bandwagon'

The issue of reducing the government's deficit and wider public debts has become a political battle ahead of the general election.

A Conservative spokesman said: "Twenty leading economists, plus business leaders, including Richard Branson, agree with us that the failure to have a credible plan to reduce the deficit threatens to undermine the recovery and push up interest rates.

"We are happy to have that debate with the government."

But a spokesman for Mr Darling said that the latest letters showed that shadow chancellor George Osborne had "jumped on the wrong bandwagon".

"His judgment is wrong and his approach would risk derailing the recovery," the spokesman said
BBC News - Economists back delay on government spending cuts

Let be perfectly blunt about the state of the UK economy.  Last year it looked like we were headed for a massive Depression, and Tories could have rolled in talking about jobs, housing prices, and failing banks.  BUT Brown has done an excellent job reducing all these problems compared to the rest of the world.  So now all the Tories have as an issue is the fact it cast money to combat the issues. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fears of mass UK banking exodus prove unfounded | Business | guardian.co.uk

Research by Channel 4 News shows that, despite warnings by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, that 9,000 high-­flying City workers would decamp to escape the windfall levy on bonuses and the 50p income tax rate, just 1,079 British citizens joined the financial sector in the Alpine state last year – and about two-thirds of those were applying for IT or other back-office jobs. That represented a 7% decline on the number of Brits applying for a carte de séjour – work permit – in the financial services sector in 2008.
Fears of mass UK banking exodus prove unfounded | Business | guardian.co.uk
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BBC News - George Soros doubles gold investment

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, he said: "The ultimate asset bubble is gold." However, he did not say whether he was investing in the precious metal.

But he also said that when he sees a bubble, "I rush out and buy".
BBC News - George Soros doubles gold investment


There are two ways to read this, but I read the big Soros buy as he getting in to a bubble and trying to make some money off it.
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BBC News - George Soros doubles gold investment



US billionaire George Soros has more than doubled his investment in gold, despite calling it the "ultimate bubble" just weeks ago.

Mr Soros' investment vehicle Soros Fund Management increased its holding in SPDR Gold Trust to 6.2 million shares, worth $663m (£425m) at the end of 2009.

It had held 2.5 million shares at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

The gold price hit a record high of $1,226.56 an ounce in December, but has since fallen back to about $1,100.

Mr Soros himself has suggested that gold may not be a good investment.


BBC News - George Soros doubles gold investment
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Tories be warned



An extra £13bn in tax rises or spending cuts is needed by 2015-16, according to a respected think tank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the funds are needed for the government to reassure investors it is committed to repairing public finances.

However, it cautions against any extra budget tightening in 2010, because of the fragile state of the economy

The IFS predicts economic growth will be 2% a year over the next five years, lower than the Treasury's suggested 3%.

It is also forecasting that weak consumer spending and a muted rebound in capital investment will hinder economic growth.


BBC News - Economists call for tighter budget squeeze
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BBC News - Stop sexualising children, says David Cameron

Conservative leader David Cameron has called for an end to the "inappropriate sexualisation" of children.#

Parents should be able to complain via a specially set-up website about offensive marketing tactics used by companies, he said.

Mr Cameron also told GMTV that firms which flout the rules should not be allowed to bid for government contracts for three years.

Such moves were needed to end the effects of "pester power", he added.

In 2008, Woolworths withdrew a children's bedroom furniture range called Lolita - the same name as the 1955 Vladimir Nabokov novel about a man's sexual obsession with his 12-year-old stepdaughter.


BBC News - Stop sexualising children, says David Cameron

Right now everyone is getting in to the act of attacking businesses.  Of course could just refuse to buy from these ads, and with a tight budget this is yet another new government funded program to be promised by the Tories.  But can anyone remember Conservatives who did in fact cut government spending overall?
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BBC News - House prices rose by 2.9% in 2009, says government

House prices in the UK rose by 2.9% last year, according to the latest government house price survey.
BBC News - House prices rose by 2.9% in 2009, says government
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wall Street's Euro Scams - Newsweek.com

Little-publicized deals like these help to explain the mystifying profit levels of Wall Street, even after the crisis. For two decades, Wall Street's biggest money machine has been driven by a formula: create very complex deals with high profit margins and leverage up to do the deals in volume. The complexity is made possible by the freedom that Washington regulators have given the banks to structure little-understood derivatives off public exchanges, or "over the counter." These hard-to-understand deals—labyrinthine structures that combine swaps in different currencies, for example—permit the banks to charge huge "spreads" to customers like the Greek government because the deals are "customized" or one-time-only affairs not subject to public scrutiny or competitive pricing. And it's not over for Athens or other weaker sisters such as Spain and Portugal. The OTC swaps market "is currently pushing Greece to the edge," says Hardouvelis. "Hedge funds and banks can bet on the cost of Greek government debt by taking positions in the CDS [credit default swaps] market without owning Greek debt. In a thinly traded underlying bond market, the derivative CDS market can cause damage and is prone to manipulation by insiders."
Wall Street's Euro Scams - Newsweek.com
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Why the Economic Recovery Will Hurt Like Hell - Newsweek.com

The international recession that began in 2008 has made the Sonic Boom quieter, but history shows that when a crisis ends, the larger trends in place before the crisis usually resume. Shenzhen represents the larger trend of growth, change, and transformation at unprecedented velocity. Thanks to vast increases in productivity, worldwide economic growth soon will pick up, creating rising prosperity and higher living standards for most people in most nations. The world will be far more interconnected, leading to better and more affordable products, as well as ever better communication among nations.
Why the Economic Recovery Will Hurt Like Hell - Newsweek.com
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BBC News - Foreign demand for US debt drops by record amount

China cut its holdings by $34.2bn - meaning it is now the second-biggest US debt holder after Japan.
BBC News - Foreign demand for US debt drops by record amount
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Payback Time - Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis - Series - NYTimes.com

Polls are helping the administration make its case, people in both parties say. In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans by a two-to-one ratio say Mr. Obama is trying to work with Republicans, while by more than two-to-one they say Republicans are not reciprocating. As for the deficit, 41 percent say the Bush administration is most to blame, 24 percent say Congress and 7 percent say Mr. Obama.
The problem is that there is only one poll that matters. If, as seems likely, Republicans pick up seats in the 2010 elections, then they will see themselves as having been rewarded for not working with Democrats and will have no incentive to change their behavior.

Payback Time - Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis - Series - NYTimes.com
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George Osborne's doctor brother 'prescribed Pill for Muslim girlfriend without telling GP' | Mail Online



The younger brother of Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was today accused of supplying prescription drugs to a prostitute friend addicted to cocaine.

Dr Adam Osborne, 33, tried to use a false name to get the drugs, a General Medical Council hearing in London was told.

His friend had turned to him for help to combat her cocaine-related hallucinations, the panel was told.

The hearing was told he had been 'misleading and dishonest'.

Under GMC regulations doctors can only prescribe for family and friends in emergencies.

Dr Osborne, who faces being struck off, admits prescribing drugs for a friend, family member and girlfriend but denies inappropriate conduct.

The case will be a huge embarrassment to the shadow chancellor as well as his parents Sir Peter and Lady Osborne who live in Notting Hill.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1251406/George-Osbornes-doctor-brother-prescribed-Pill-Muslim-girlfriend-telling-GP.html#ixzz0fj5zLQsc

George Osborne's doctor brother 'prescribed Pill for Muslim girlfriend without telling GP' | Mail Online

Sir Peter and Lady Osborne seem to have had their younger son going a bit local with a Muslim prostitute.   Oh the scandal.  Next week on Upstairs Downstairs, David Cameron comes over for a visit but confuses the butler for a lavatory and makes something of a mess.  Welcome to 21st Century Britain, a very old and crusty nation.
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BBC News - Brown critic says Labour must be confident of poll win



Labour should win the next election as the centre of gravity in British politics has "shifted to the left", former minister James Purnell has said.

Mr Purnell quit the cabinet last summer in protest at the leadership of Gordon Brown, saying it increased the likelihood of a Conservative victory.

But he told an audience in London that Labour should be "confident" of victory if it had a "clear and radical agenda".

Yet he also warned Labour's "absence of ideology" could now prove a handicap.


BBC News - Brown critic says Labour must be confident of poll win

It is a strange paradox that as reality right now confirms that Right wing policies of the 1980s did not work, Right wing parties are winning elections.  What then follows is paralysis as right wing parties in France, Germany, Italy and other nations find it impossible to even understand the current economic crisis outside of Keynes context.
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The Conservatives' new poster campaign leads to full-scale Twitter warfare – Telegraph Blogs

The Conservatives' new poster campaign leads to full-scale Twitter warfare – Telegraph Blogs
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Inside a Cell



The animations are so amazing I don't see the point to the yuks. Jokes are great for IT presentations.
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The Robin Hood Tax



Its a good idea.
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BBC News - Piers Morgan interview with Gordon Brown attracts 4.2m



Piers Morgan's celebrity-style interview with Prime Minister Gordon Brown was watched by 4.2 million viewers on ITV1 on Sunday night.

During the show, Mr Brown spoke openly about the death of his newborn daughter Jennifer, and the leadership deal that was struck with Tony Blair.

The audience peaked at 5.2 million at the start, slipping to 3.6 million.

About 2.5 million watched Great British Journeys on BBC One during the same time slot.

Dancing on Ice - The Skate Off, which preceded the Prime Minister's interview, attracted 7.4 million viewers on ITV1.

Piers Morgan's Life Stories usually features more celebrity-driven interviews, with previous guests including Katie Price, Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue.


BBC News - Piers Morgan interview with Gordon Brown attracts 4.2m
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Monday, February 15, 2010

BBC News - Australia anti-immigration politician immigrates to UK, fails to see joke.



Australian former anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson is selling up and heading to Britain, according to an interview with an Australian magazine.

She told Women's Day that Australia was no longer a land of opportunity and she had "had enough" of living there.

Ms Hanson built a career on claims that Australia was being "swamped by Asians"

She was jailed briefly for fraud before the conviction was quashed. Her efforts to stage a political comeback in recent years have failed.

"I'm going to be away indefinitely. It's pretty much goodbye forever," said Ms Hanson, 56.

"I've really had enough. I want peace in my life. I want contentment, and that's what I'm aiming for."

She told the magazine she would "never be given a chance to re-enter parliament" and wanted to "get out there" while she still had her health.

"Sadly, the land of opportunity is no more applicable," she said, blaming high taxes, over-regulation and a "lack of true representation".

Ms Hanson's father was born in England before emigrating to Australia, meaning she has the right to live in the UK.


BBC News - Australia race politician Pauline Hanson moving to UK
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BBC News - Tories criticised over teenage pregnancy figure error



The party said the conception rate for this age group in the 10 most disadvantaged areas of England was 54%, while the real figure was 5.4%.
BBC News - Tories criticised over teenage pregnancy figure error

Starting to build some real confidence there eh?  Is there anyone working on the Cameron Shadow Cabinet who knows any statistics other than focus group samples?
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Did anyone do anything any different on Debt



Step back a bit though and you might be entitled to wonder whether all this hysteria over borrowing levels is really warranted. Take, for instance, this graph (courtesy of The Guardian), which shows Britain’s net debt as a percentage of GDP compared to other major countries

international-debt-graphic.gif (GIF Image, 461x342 pixels)

This graph shows that the UK's debt as part of GDP compares very favorably with US, France, Germany, and much better than Italy and Japan.

So are the Tories saying we need to be at the level of China?  And that raises interesting questions as what economic life in that space would be like.

Its a good thing that Cameron has since retreated on this radical neo-conservative stance on debt.  Lets be frank, the banking collapse of 2008 was almost on the scale and nature of 1929.  Both busts happened in a United States economy drunk on easy profits in investment.  The primary difference this time around was the speed of global government intervention, and the outcome of the recession has been so mild compared even to earlier recession in the UK that some politicians are able to tell the public that there was no crisis at all, or just to concentrate on the cure.
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Wall St. Helped Greece to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis - NYTimes.com

Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

Wall St. Helped Greece to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis - NYTimes.com
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Steve Richards: The tide has turned, and the Tories are swimming against it - Steve Richards, Commentators - The Independent

The tide turned during the Today programme in September 2008 when two figures from Goldman Sachs pleaded for more government intervention to save the banks. Ever since government hyper-activity has been part of the solution and not the source of the problem. In the US, Germany, France and the UK, Keynes is back in fashion. Here Labour and the Liberal Democrats have broadly agreed on the response to the crisis, from the nationalisation of Northern Rock to the need to keep spending until the recession is at a safe distance. On these issues Cameron and Osborne have been backward-looking while claiming to be the instruments of change.
Steve Richards: The tide has turned, and the Tories are swimming against it - Steve Richards, Commentators - The Independent

An interesting article where Steve Richards paints Cameron as a denial candidate, unable to accept the fact that the economics since Thacher has changed and perhaps leading a plurality who are also unable to accept the obvious facts.  Richards argues that no matter what the desire of the Tories and 40% of Britain might be, the tide has changed.  He compares today's Tories to the Labour of the 1970s, able to win two elections in a row but unable to keep up with history.

Very interesting post.
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BBC News - Goldie Hawn talks to Tories about setting up schools

The Tories are in talks with foreign educational groups - including one run by Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn - to set up state schools in England.
BBC News - Goldie Hawn talks to Tories about setting up schools

Tories to cut taxes, not touch the NHS, give big tax cuts to about half the population, keep the military strong, pay for freeze in council taxes, give money to way more schools and slash government spending....have heard it all before.

One word comes to mind: Reagan. 
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

BBC News - Cut working week to 21 hours, urges think tank



The working week should be cut to 21 hours to help boost the economy and improve quality of life, a left-wing think tank has said.

The New Economics Foundation claimed in a report the reduction in hours would help to ease unemployment and overwork.

The think tank said people were working longer hours now than 30 years ago even though unemployment was at 2.5 million.

The foundation admitted people would earn less, but said they would have more time to carry out worthy tasks.

They would have better scope to look after children or other dependents, there would be more opportunity for civic duties, and older people could even delay retirement, it said.


BBC News - Cut working week to 21 hours, urges think tank
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BBC News - Ukraine: Tymoshenko vows to contest election result

BBC News - Ukraine: Tymoshenko vows to contest election result


A collapsed fiasco showing the sad state of "democracy" in the post Soviet Union.  Firstly who does this woman's hair.  I mean I see thousands of people from the former Soviet Union a year and bread head here is trying for some image that confuses and scares me.  But beside that if it had not been for her efforts to hijack the Orange Revolution the Russians would never be back in power.

The "end of history" has lead to a sad period: the "end of stability and the end of reason"
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Friday, February 12, 2010

They Ain’t With Main Street | The New Republic

If you have ever had an argument about excessive executive salaries with a rich Republican—I can recall one, for instance, with a downtown corporate tax lawyer—he will invariably compare CEO salaries to those that athletes and entertainers make. And here we have a Democratic president using this spurious ploy.

Is it necessary to make the obvious points? That the athletes who make $17 million have spent most of their waking life since they were four years old practicing their sport (if you don’t believe it, read Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open); that they possess unusual skill at what they do; that in some cases—like those among professional football players or prize fighters—they risk life and longevity; that their earning cycle, often only a few years, is very sharply limited compared to that of a banker; and that what they contribute to society—after all, athletics and entertainment have been an essential part of human life for thousands of years—is as valuable as, and probably more valuable than, what many a banker or trader contributes.
They Ain’t With Main Street | The New Republic
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Poll - Obama Has Edge Over G.O.P. With Public - NYTimes.com

“It feels like an attempt to sabotage the majority and to regain control of power rather than working on a compromise,” John Smith, a Republican from Greenville, S.C., said of his party after participating in the poll.
Poll - Obama Has Edge Over G.O.P. With Public - NYTimes.com
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cameron apology demanded on anniversary of Mandela release - politics.co.uk

David Cameron has been asked to apologise for a visit to South Africa to campaign against sanctions on the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

The Conservative leader flew to the country as the guest of anti-sanctions lobbyists in 1989, while the future president was still in prison.

Mr Cameron has already acknowledged his party's "mistakes" on the issue while visiting in 2006.

Labour MP Richard Caborn and ex-TUC general secretary Norman Willis, a prominent anti-apartheid campaigner, have written to the Tory leader to demand a public apology.

"Your trip, paid for by lobbyists against sanctions, was a long time ago," they wrote.

"But it was then, and is now, a question of values and judgement.

"Since the details of this trip became public, you have refused to comment on it, refused to explain why you had to keep it quiet and refused to apologise for your actions.

"We hope that on the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release, you will set the record straight and do what is right."

Tory spokespeople insist Mr Cameron flew to the country to see conditions and that he met with opposition politicians while there.

Margaret Thatcher's persistent commitment to South Africa, and her attempts to prevent any attempt at sanctions on it, was a major cause of anger towards the Tory leader in the 1980's.


Cameron apology demanded on anniversary of Mandela release - politics.co.uk
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BBC News - EU deal 'agreed' on Greece debt woes

There was an instant reaction on the markets, where traders welcomed news of the deal. Major European markets rebounded from earlier falls and the euro rose against the US dollar.
BBC News - EU deal 'agreed' on Greece debt woes

To any free market or Hayek fans out there, the markets forced the governments to bail out another economy.  It is the free markets that force governments to do these bail outs.  Massive government bail outs, just like massive national debt, is the hallmark of Capitalism.
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UK National Debt As Percent Of GDP for United Kingdom 1900-2010 - Central Government Local Authorities

UK National Debt As Percent Of GDP for United Kingdom 1900-2010 - Central Government Local Authorities
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Palin Unqualified To Be President, Says Vast Majority Of America



The spotlight has been bright, not necessarily kind to former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 71% of Americans do not feel that Palin is qualified to be President. That includes a sharp drop in Republican support, where 45% believe she is qualified compared to 66% who thought she was last fall.

Overall, 37% have a favorable view while 55% have an unfavorable view of the former Alaska Governor.


Palin Unqualified To Be President, Says Vast Majority Of America
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Political manners: Now it's personal | The Economist

Look at their respective platforms. As both re-calibrate their positions on tackling the deficit—by all accounts, the key issue of the campaign—the gap between them, in policy terms, is shrinking. Could all the bile possibly be a distraction from the fact that, where it matters, Mr Cameron and Mr Brown increasingly agree with each other?
Political manners: Now it's personal | The Economist
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Family Guy | Cracked.com

Family Guy | Cracked.com
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Behind you! Tories accused over 'fake' students | UK news | The Guardian



The Conservative party has had a few ­problems with authenticity of late, accused of airbrushing David Cameron's campaign posters, and distorting crime statistics.

Now questions are being asked over the genuineness of students photographed listening to Cameron's speech at the ­University of East London on Monday.

The eight or so young people sitting directly behind the Tory leader and listening quietly as he spoke of "rebuilding trust in politics" certainly looked like students. They bore all the hallmarks of youth and academia: hooded tops, jeans, smooth skin. But according to the ­president of the university's union, they were not ­students, but baby-faced ­members of Cameron's campaign team.

"They are not our students," Joseph Bitrus, told the Guardian. "Afterwards I spoke with one of them, and he said he had just joined the campaign a week ago and was learning how it worked."

Bitrus said that UEL staff and students had asked him after who were the people behind Cameron. "They asked because they didn't recognise them, and they didn't represent the multiculturalism of the university," he said. He said students were also disappointed that they did not get the chance to ask Cameron any questions. "He only took one question from a student, and it wasn't about education," said Bitrus, adding that the students had been keen to hear what the Tories would do about higher education funding, and whether they, like Labour, would curb the number of foreign students coming to Britain. "But he just talked about constitutional reform, which wasn't of interest to most students."



Behind you! Tories accused over 'fake' students | UK news | The Guardian


Seeing a pattern here?

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Brown Isn’t Down for Count as Polls Converge With U.K. Growth - BusinessWeek

The Conservatives won 198 seats in the 2005 election. They’ll need 326 for a majority. Only twice since World War II has a party gained that many seats in one election. Both times it was Labour -- in 1945 under Clement Attlee and 1997 under Tony Blair.
Brown Isn’t Down for Count as Polls Converge With U.K. Growth - BusinessWeek
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