Thursday 31 May 2012

Here Endeth The Trial

Two weeks ago, Don’t Call Me Dave announced his return to blogging for a trial period. That period has now ended. Whilst this blog remains popular with readers, DCMD does not consider its resumption to have been successful. Rather than being a means to let off steam, the blogposts served only to make DCMD even more pissed off with the world around him. More importantly, he simply does not find writing the articles as enjoyable as in days of yore. A writer who does not enjoy his craft needs to stop and find a more productive outlet for his creative thoughts.

As any serious blogger will confirm, writing blogs is a painstaking task. The facts have to be scrupulously researched, and this takes time: more time than DCMD has available. There are plenty of topics he wanted to write about in detail, including:

Middlesex University: The failure of the University to take action after an undisputed anti-Semitic incident on campus, and its subsequent refusal to condemn a speaker who called Jewish students Nazis.

Middlesex University (again): The decision by the University to sell off the Trent Park campus, built on the site of Henry IV’s hunting grounds. The campus includes the historic and listed Mansion House which was used during WWII as a prisoner of war camp for captured German officers. Now it is being turned into pokey little flats. The bean counters at Middlesex know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Hendon Cemetery: Parts of the grounds have been allowed to become seriously overgrown, to the extent that some plots are no longer visible. This means visitors inadvertently find themselves walking over graves. This is hugely disrespectful to the deceased. Is Barnet Council trying to save on maintenance costs in advance of privatisation?

The Euro: Greece is bankrupt. Spain and Italy are not far behind. The Euro has failed. Rather than face reality, our great leaders propose to spend billions upon billions of taxpayers money to try and avoid the inevitable. Future generations will have to pay off this debt - all to save the face of the politicians who do not have the guts to admit “we were wrong about the single currency”. The sooner the Euro is abolished, the quicker sovereign states can start the long process to restore their economies.

Audi Whetstone: Perhaps you guys haven’t heard that the economy is in recession? When a customer comes in and makes an enquiry about buying a new car, treat him like a King. How hard should it be to make an appointment for a test drive? If you want the sale, you have to follow it up. Don’t expect the customer to run round after you. Idiots.

Greedy footballers: Arsenal captain Robin van Persie has reportedly refused to sign a new contract worth £130,000 a week plus a £5 million signing on fee. He can earn more elsewhere, but how much more does he need? He is not alone in his greed. How about players showing some loyalty to the clubs and hard pressed supporters who pay their wages?

Freedom of Information: DCMD recently made an FOI request to Bolton Council in relation to a business matter. The council sent an immediate acknowledgement with a full response after just 8 working days. In their reply, the council stated “Bolton Council is happy to supply the following information…”  Take note Barnet Council. Other authorities are happy to provide information. They understand that they are the servants of the public. And they don’t keep taxpayers waiting.

Andrew Dismore has got to go! Not just Dismore, to be fair. All of them. The GLA is an expensive talking shop. It serves no useful purpose, except to give its elected members bucket loads of taxpayers cash. There isn’t anything the GLA does that cannot be done more effectively by existing local authorities. We are over-governed in this country and Maggie was right to abolish the old GLC.

Two Posh Boys: Tory MP Nadine Dorries recently described David Cameron and George Osborne as “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk”. She was right about this, although it is irrelevant whether our lords and masters are posh or not. The key issue is whether they are up to the task in hand and in touch with the real world. Cameron and Osborne are not. But neither are Clegg, Cable, Miliband or Balls. Indeed, the Government and Opposition front benches are stuffed full of people who have never had a proper job in their lives (working for management consultants doesn’t count as a real job). How many members of the Government have run their own business or worked in manufacturing? Or industry? Or in the medical profession? Or retail? Or commerce? We are governed by a political elite who simply do not understand what they are doing.

Cameron’s legacy: Margaret Thatcher made Labour electable. ‘Old’ Labour had been taken over by the loony left and was heading for electoral oblivion. Thatcher’s reforms forced Labour to adopt a more moderate position which would appeal to the wider population. New Labour was born. David Cameron will also make Labour electable again, albeit for different reasons. He is devoid of any political principles and has shown an appalling lack of judgement on major issues. He failed to honour his pledge for a vote on Europe. There are many in his own party who will never forgive him for forming an alliance with the LibDems (without any democratic mandate to do so) and he is allowing the tail to wag the dog. His government is running around like a headless chicken and will allow Labour to win back power by default, even though they are still led by the main core of people who caused the economy to collapse in the first place.

Mrs Angry predicted DCMD’s return to blogging would be short lived. She was right. Just don’t tell her!

Monday 28 May 2012

Barnet Conservatives embrace localism

A leaflet put out by the Conservatives as part of the by-election campaign in Brunswick Park is considered by some to be controversial. The leaflet below, reproduced from the Barnet Bugle, attacks the Labour candidate for living outside of the ward, unlike the ‘non-political’ Tory candidate (who works in Conservative Central Office) residing in Chase Way. “What does someone who lives in Hendon know about Brunswick Park Ward,” the leaflet asks? Click on image to enlarge.

This would appear to be a risky strategy given, as the Bugle subsequently reported, that at the 2010 elections, 13 out of 21 Tory candidates did not live in the wards they wanted to represent. 3 did not even live in the same parliamentary constituency. It would be easy to accuse the Conservatives of hypocrisy. But perhaps this is an unfair criticism. Maybe they have simply learnt from the experience of Sachin Rajput’s recent election disasters?

Sachin Rajput is a Conservative councillor in Oakleigh. He lives in his local ward and has twice been elected to Barnet Council with a very healthy majority. But when he tried to stand in nearby Brent, he was humiliated. Twice.

The Barnet Times printed this letter from Don’t Call Me Dave about Cllr Rajput’s endeavours. Click on image to enlarge.

Unfortunately, the letter was poorly edited by the newspaper. The final paragraph should have read:
Cllr Rajput should take the only honourable course of action available to him and stand down, allowing voters to elect a more worthy representative; someone who is focussed on serving the local community rather than using the council as a stepping stone for personal career advancement.

The public have a very low opinion of politicians. For years, all the major parties have allowed candidates to stand in a ward or constituency even if they have no connection to that area. Was it any wonder, therefore, that turnout for the recent local elections was a measly 38%?  Arguably, the Brunswick Park leaflet was not a catastrophic error of judgment after all. Perhaps Barnet’s Tories belatedly made a strategic decision to ignore conventional wisdom and listen instead to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who has repeatedly called upon councils to embrace localism?

UPDATE: Readers who are unconvinced by DCMD’s logic, should consider the fate of Sean Hooker, former LibDem councillor for Mill Hill. Mr Hooker was first elected at a by-election in 2000, having failed to be elected to the GLA earlier that year. But he was also anxious to become an MP and stood unsuccessfully for the Chipping Barnet Parliamentary seat in 2005. At the council elections the following year, he lost his seat. He was soundly beaten into 6th place, even though his LibDem ward colleagues Wayne Casey and Jeremy Davies both held their seats.

By standing for so many different elected bodies in so many different areas, Hooker sent a message to the electorate that he had no desire to represent his local community. Rather, he just wanted to get elected anywhere he could. Eventually, voters decided that they had had enough of being taken for granted and told Hooker to sling his hook. The same fate is likely to befall any candidate who treats the electorate with contempt.

Friday 25 May 2012

The Hypocrisy of Socialists

Do you remember the media hype last December when Jeremy Clarkson made a joke on TV suggesting that striking public sector workers should be “taken out and executed”? The left just couldn’t wait to jump on the bandwagon and demand his sacking. Barnet Blogger VickiM went as far as to call him a c*nt. Nice.

Clarkson frequently makes provocative comments simply to create a reaction. If you don’t like what he has to say, or the way that he says it, you don’t have to listen to him. But that is not good enough for the swivel-eyed Trots, who simply cannot bear the thought of anyone expressing an opinion that is contrary to their deluded and misguided belief system.

Roll the clock forward to May 2012 and Labour MP Kerry McCarthy uses Twitter to suggest that a fellow train passenger “should have been killed” for wearing an offensive T shirt. Of course, this is different to the Clarkson case because, as Mz McCarthy said in a subsequent Tweet, her comments were “obviously flippant.”

Obviously. Perish the thought that anyone should consider her a sanctimonious hypocrite.

Monday 21 May 2012

The Utterly Useless Advertising Standards Authority

Last week, Matthew Offord provoked a Twitter spat with fellow Conservative MP, Mike Freer. Offord told a constituent that he would not be voting in support of a bill to legalise same sex marriages. In response, Freer called Offord “misguided”. This is typical of Freer who has never been able to accept the fact that there are people in the world who dare to hold a different opinion to him. Regular readers will recall a charming interview given by Freer in 2009 in which he suggested that his opponents masturbated whilst writing about him.

The debate about gay marriage has featured prominently in the blogosphere recently following the dishonest and vindictive inquisition by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of the self-styled Archbishop Cranmer, a private individual with deeply held religious convictions. Cranmer’s blog carried an advertisement on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage which the ASA decided worthy of investigation on the grounds of alleged homophobia. Don’t Call Me Dave reproduces the advertisement below in support of the right of citizens not to be vilified merely for taking a contrary view to the liberal metropolitan elite now ruining running the country.

Quite separate to the gay marriage debate, DCMD has his own reason to hold the ASA in contempt. Many years ago, he used to run a mail order company. One of the products sold was a device which, when affixed to a car’s fuel line, was reputed to improve fuel efficiency. The advertisement carried a no quibble guarantee. If customers were not entirely satisfied that the product worked, they could return it for a full refund, no questions asked.

A member of the anorak fraternity complained to the ASA about the advertisement, who in turn launched an investigation. DCMD provided the ASA with reams of statistical evidence produced by an independent laboratory which supported the ad's claims. This was summarily rejected by the ASA. They did not provide any counter evidence to refute the data provided by DCMD. Indeed, the person conducting the investigation, who appeared to have no mechanical engineering experience or qualifications, simply decided that he was not minded to accept it. The idea that you can reject independent scientifically based evidence simply because you don’t like the sound of it is, as Cranmer has discovered, the behaviour of a tyrant and a dictator.

The ASA took it upon themselves to ban the advertisement. DCMD did not have the means to challenge their decision. It did not matter to the ASA that no customer ever returned the device for a refund. As Cranmer has discovered, the ASA are a law unto themselves. They are a jumped up band of self-appointed half wits - nay, quarter wits - who have no experience or understanding of the real world;  a bunch of misbegotten turds - jobsworths of the highest order - looking for a means to justify their existence.

Teenage magazines are full of gratuitously offensive and demeaning advertisements featuring sexualised imagery of young children. Do the ASA investigate these advertisers? Of course not, because they haven’t got the balls to stand up to the big corporations with their expensive lawyers, who could crush them into the ground as soon as look at them. How much easier it is to pick on the small guys who will succumb in awe to their perceived greatness.

Except now, thanks to the publicity surrounding Cranmer, the ASA are receiving the opprobrium they so richly deserve. It transpires that the ASA’s ‘powers’ are not quite as extensive as they would have you believe. DCMD wishes he knew then what he knows now about the limits of the ASA’s actual legal authority. If he had, he would not have wasted time and money producing evidence worthy of a high ranking Q.C. . Instead he would have simply invoked the established defence of Arkell v Presdram.

Erase and Rewind

Last week, Don’t Call Me Dave announced his return to blogging for a trial period. His intention was to write solely about issues which made him very angry. Instead, he wrote about things that simply irritated him mildly. DCMD does not wish to compete with other bloggers, locally or nationally. He is angrier than Mrs Angry, although you would not know it from the mild-mannered drivel he posted last week. So the re-launched blog is being re-launched again later today. This time, the gloves are coming off.

Friday 18 May 2012

A fool and his money are soon parted

To much fanfare, today is the day that Facebook floated on the stock exchange with a valuation of over $100 billion. Yes, $100 billion for a company that doesn’t actually manufacture anything.

A lot of people have made a lot of money from the flotation, including pop star Bono, whose investment company is now sitting on a paper profit of $1.4 billion. Let’s see how quickly he sells those shares and distributes the cash to the poor and needy.

There is an old saying: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” As investors scrambled to buy shares, did not any of them stop to ask: “What exactly am I buying here?” Did they all forget the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s when internet stocks collapsed as people suddenly discovered that the Emperor had no clothes?

What exactly are Facebook’s assets to support such a valuation? 900 million users, the investment bankers cry. Yes, 900 million users who will drop Facebook at the drop of a hat when something newer and shinier comes along. And it will. As you read this, an army of geeks are sitting in their bedrooms designing the next great internet sensation.

Good luck to all the investors who got in early and sold out quick. To the rest, don’t start crying when it all goes pear shaped.

Have the Tories broken election law?

The Barnet Bugle has posted the latest election leaflet published by the Conservatives in advance of the Brunswick Park by-election, to be held on 31st May 2012.

On the front page of the leaflet is a very clear message stating definitively that parking will remain free at both the Osidge Lane and Brunswick Park Road municipal car parks. 

But the Barnet Times today reports that Cllr Dean Cohen has not yet made a decision whether these two car parks will remain free. He told the paper that a decision would not be made until next week.

So if a decision has not yet been taken about Osidge Lane and Brunswick Park Road, it means that the Conservatives are distributing election leaflets with statements that they know to be untrue. Councillors now receive a minimum basic allowance of £10,597. It is arguable, therefore, that by publishing a false statement with the intention of procuring sufficient votes to win the contest, the Conservative candidate is seeking to gain a pecuniary advantage by deception.

How fortuitous for the Tories that Labour are so totally inept, they probably won’t complain.

Geoffrey Howe. Still Dripping Wet.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Blessed Margaret, Geoffrey Howe was responsible for scrapping Dennis Healey’s pip-squeaking 98% top tax rate, shifting the balance from the spongers to the entrepreneurs. But he was also a dripping ‘wet’ who advocated abolishing the Pound and signing up for the Euro. How did that idea work out, Geoff?

Speaking to the House of Lords this week, Lord Howe turned his attention to our tried and trusted system of imperial weights and measures. He said:
“British weights and measures are in a mess. We have litres for petrol and fizzy drinks but pints for beer and milk. We have metres and kilometres for athletics and the Ordnance Survey but miles per gallon for cars. We have the metric system for school but still have pounds and ounces in the market. Certainly, this muddle matters. It increases costs, confuses shoppers, leads to serious misunderstandings, causes accidents, confuses our children's education and, quite bluntly, puts us all to shame.”
Lord Howe is wrong! Shoppers are not confused by imperial measures. When asked, the public have repeatedly stated that they wish to retain pounds and ounces. America is the largest economy in the world and they manage to get along quite nicely using the imperial system.

We were not consulted about changing gallons for litres at the forecourt and if school children are unable to convert yards to metres, then sack their useless teachers rather than abolish a system which has worked for centuries.

There is a well known adage. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When are dinosaurs like Lord Howe going to get it through their heads that the public are sick and tired of politicians telling us what we can and cannot have, interfering in the minutiae of our everyday lives? In case Lord Howe hadn’t noticed, the economy is going down the pan. His time would be better spent trying to find a solution to our woes rather than worrying about people wanting to buy a mile and a half of bananas.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Brian Coleman should have listened to Maggie

In 1981, Margaret Thatcher sacked Norman St John Stevas from the Cabinet. “I was sorry to lose Norman but he made his own departure inevitable,” she wrote in her memoirs. “He had a first-class brain and a ready wit, but he turned indiscretion into a political principle.”

Sounds just like our Brian.

Long to reign over us

Don’t Call Me Dave was driving home to his country estate this evening, listening to the wireless, when an announcer on Smooth FM gave details of a special event the station was organising on 3rd June “in order to celebrate the Queen’s 60th Diamond Jubilee”.

Are you sure?

This is Her Majesty’s first Diamond Jubilee. Life expectancy is increasing year on year, but it is most unlikely that the Queen will reign for 3,600 years. Prince Charles would not be amused.

If the announcement had been made live, the presenter could have blamed the error as an inadvertent mistake. But this was a pre-recorded jingle. Yet more proof that the standerd of edukashon in this cuntry are falling.

Correction: As if to prove DCMD’s point about standards of education, the first draft of this post referred to a reign of 360 years instead of 3,600. Thanks to Quintus Slide for pointing out the error.

I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

On 4th April 2011, Don’t Call Me Dave announced the last post for Not The Barnet Times. He had retired on at least three previous occasions, but they all proved to be temporary abatements. This time, however, was different. DCMD explained that, for personal reasons, he was unable to continue writing the blog. He remained true to his word, with the honourable exception of a posting in October 2011 in tribute to his very good friend Neil Mosesson who had died aged just 52.

When DCMD started blogging in July 2008, he was one of just two active political bloggers in Barnet (Statler & Waldorf having taken up residence in the rest home for the bewildered). Today, the blogosphere in Barnet is well covered, although it has a rather unhealthy left-wing bias. DCMD does not much care for Socialism or wishy-washy Liberal-Conservatism and, in recent months, has found it increasingly difficult to remain silent on matters of local and national importance.  Indeed, Neil always encouraged DCMD to speak out and speak up whenever our lords and masters abused the system, broke the rules or committed acts of blatant hypocrisy.

In the grand scheme of things, of course, the world will continue revolving whether DCMD speaks out or not; the number of people who read his witterings are immeasurably fewer than the number who care not one iota what he thinks. None-the-less, 1,000 people a month continued to view this blog after it ‘ended’ in April 2011 and, last month, the hits increased to 2,500 with posts about former GLA member Brian Coleman being of particular appeal. DCMD is grateful for such loyalty and interest.

Accordingly, he has decided, on a trial basis only, to start posting again, albeit with a difference. Previously, DCMD would attend council meetings and read through interminably dull reports looking for evidence of misfeasance, malpractice and incompetence. He has neither the time nor inclination to do so again, especially as Barnet’s Famous Five Bloggers already perform this task far better than he ever did, or could hope to do in the future.

In short, DCMD intends merely to comment on the issues of the day which really piss him off. Readers are kindly asked to note that he has deactivated the blog's Tourette’s filter.