Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Layer 87 Obama is President. Rejoice!

As one very tired commentator nearly said on TV this morning, “The new president will have the backing of the House of Resentatives”.

I’d like to be a member of a House of Resentatives, full of grumpy old men and women. I think I’d be good at it.

“No way! I’m not voting for that! You never voted for the things I wanted. You’ve never cared about my feelings. You’re just self, self, self. Why do we always have to do things your way? Oh, oh - you’re the president are you? I’m not bothered. I didn’t vote for you. Sod off!”

Every country should have a House of Resentatives.


Meanwhile we’ve been treated to more of our own Prime Minister’s magnificent rhetoric:

“This is a moment that will live in history as long as history books are written.”

He’s going to look back and feel proud of those inspirational words of wisdom. How wonderfully apposite and memorable they are. How fortunate we are to have him as our P.M.


Another fabulously talented Brit, Georgina Baillie, is in the news today and has called for Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to be reinstated. According to Yahoo,

“The 23-year-old said that Radio 2 DJ Brand's resignation and Ross's three month suspension without pay was "out of proportion".

Baillie, who performs with her dance troupe the Satanic Sluts, has also told how she wants to pursue a career as an actress and model.

She told broadcaster Five in her first TV interview: "I was really angry when I said I wanted them both to be fired, but I think the suspension was good enough. So I'm feeling a bit gutted really about the whole thing.

"I think it's way out of proportion what's happened, and I don't hate either of them, I don't at all. I think they're really talented comedians and I think a world without Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand would be a very sad, dull place.”

“She added: "I want to keep performing with my dance troupe. And all these modelling offers have come through which is quite interesting. I thought about doing modelling a few years ago but was told I was a bit too chunky for that, but now all of a sudden I'm not, so that's great.”

Well, that’s really, really great. I always thought something good would come from this recent sad episode in our nation’s history, one that the Prime Minister himself needed to attend to, let us not forget.

How very wonderful that she’s not too chunky after all, and we’re all going to see a lot more of her, and no doubt more of the Satanic Sluts too, assuming we can obtain copies of Filthy Chunky Whores magazine and its sister publications, and also have a local stockist of the Chunky Slags Who Fuck series of DVDs.
Curiously the reinstated Sky page seems to have deleted most of the stuff about gorgeous Georgina’s chunkiness and modeling ambitions.


Now, what else has been happening in the world? Oh yes, the election. I went to sleep around 2.00am, with no results yet in from the swing states, and so no certainty of an Obama victory. Somehow I managed to wake up at 5.00, just as he was starting his victory speech, which was fantastic, brilliant. So glad I watched it at the moment it was happening.

Political commentator Bob Schrum said on the radio this morning that Obama has a steadiness of purpose and a huge depth of knowledge. And this is the really exciting thing - that he’s highly intelligent and he does have a real purpose that goes way beyond wanting to be president. He has a very clear vision of what needs to be done in a country that has totally lost its bearings, thanks to eight years of Bush and the neo-cons.

Obama recognises that the country is in deep shit, and the people who are suffering the most, and will suffer even more, are the poorest. He seems to see that he’s become president-elect not on account of him being Mr Wonderful but on account of the promises he’s made to do the right things to sort out the mess the country is in, both at home and abroad. He’s there to carry out the wishes of the masses, and to do the right thing. He’s promised to redistribute wealth, and he’s bound to do that.

Whereas Clinton seemed to believe that it was ‘job done’ to get himself elected, Obama sees that the job won’t be done unless and until he can correct the things that are wrong and do the things that need doing.

It’s true that by running a highly effective campaign he’s already achieved something momentous and historic, but these have been means to an end, and the end is still way over the horizon.

Meanwhile, the whole world, with the exception of McCain supporters, rejoices.

The BBC website has a page of good stuff, including Obama’s acceptance speech, all 17 minutes of it:


Banks and Banking.

I meant to post this yesterday, but here it is anyway, since the whole issue of the ‘bank bail-out’ is so important. From yesterday’s Guardian editorial:

Wriggling out of the deal.

What was the point of Gordon Brown's bank bail-out plan? Not to rescue bankers, nor simply to prop up ailing banks: fecklessness and failure are not usually rewarded with state handouts
This was no giveaway, Alistair Darling stressed; banks would have to comply with strict curbs on their behaviour.

Almost from the moment that agreement was struck, financiers have tried to wriggle out of it. They were at it again yesterday, as the boss of Lloyds TSB laid out plans to pay dividends to shareholders from next year - something that had been on the chancellor's list of no-nos - while a senior executive at HSBC snubbed calls to revive lending by suggesting that the bank would not pass on cuts in interest rates to customers.

Without taxpayer support, many British banks (not just those taking government funds) would struggle to do business in these traumatised markets. Either financiers should comply with taxpayer interests or the government must force them to do so.

Just what the public expected from the banks in return for all those hundreds of billions was spelled out on October 13 by Mr Darling, the day he unveiled his bail-out plan.

There would be "guarantees" on lending to businesses and to would-be homebuyers, which was the point of supporting the banks in the first place. Because taxpayers' cash could not be wasted, there had to be "restrictions" on boardroom pay. The same went for dividends. The chancellor was not about to "put billions into banks only to see it disappear out of the door [to shareholders] again". This was a tough deal, but Mr Darling noted: "They [banks] knew the terms and conditions and they signed up to them."

Yet ministers' pleas to bank bosses at least to go easy on small businesses have yielded not one concrete pledge from the industry. What about bankers' bonuses? Both Lloyds and RBS have assured staff that they will keep paying out, even if it means using (government-supported) shares. And when it comes to paying dividends, Lloyds' Eric Daniels was adamant yesterday that by next year it would be business as usual.

This is a gross display of collective arrogance. The banking industry has just been through a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, and the bosses who helped to bring it about show no contrition or wish to reform - just a desire to get back into the fray.

Taxpayers, who will have to pay for this rescue (probably in higher taxes), are entitled to ask what exactly they are getting in return. And the government must strive to make sure the bankers stick to their end of the bargain. Arms-length management is not good enough; Mr Darling has to be hands-on. On behalf of the public, the chancellor has taken a big stake in the banks; now he has to show voters the reason why.

There are some interesting readers’ comments on the Guardian’s site:

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