Thursday, 31 May 2012
On 4th May I wrote that only the LibDems are untainted by NewsCorp. Despite frenzied efforts to find something,all that has been discovered is that Fred Michel, before he worked for Murdoch, attended a fund raising dinner for Nick Clegg in 2007 before Clegg became LibDem Leader. Despite the fact that the ConLab party can commit a score of misdemeanors and get away with it whereas LibDems may only commit one, this hardly ranks at all compared to what has emerged today from Jeremy Hunt at the Leverson enquiry.The suggestion that Hunt could dismiss his personal, very pro-Murdoch views, from his mind once the BSkyB decision was his, whereas clearly Vince Cable could not similarly dismiss his anti-Murdoch views & thus had to be removed from the decision making, is as ludicrous as it is offensive. It is blindingly self evident that the Tories always intended Murdoch to get the whole of BSkyB and Cable, by refusing to be seduced by NewsCorps lobbyists, was in the way.
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
An organisation for which I am Secretary has had our website domain hosted by Easyspace for some years. Just hosting - nothing more. Two years ago I was substantially overcharged for a late renewal. I wrote seeking a refund. My letter was not replied to and yes, I was remiss in not chasing it up. This cavalier attitude to real customer service, as opposed to what Easypace say about their service meant I had no intention of renewing when that subscription of two years ago expires on 16th June this year. I received an Email on 17th May 2012 from Easyspace saying " Easyspace auto renewal, successful renewal confirmation'. On 21st May I went into their control panel to discover that my personal credit cards details had been stored and a fee of £33.65 had been noted against the account. In that visit to the control panel I went through the process of changing my domain host for which I was charged a further £18 [which I put to a different credit card] Checking with my "stored" card supplier it was confirmed that the £33.65 fee had been taken on 17th May and naturally the card provider can do nothing about it. After much bouncing around the Easyspace website - including being pointed to a 'phone number which got the terse reply "This service has been discontinued" and automatic cut off - I finally called Easyspace Sales who gave me a number. On calling this I was told that no refund is possible. The voice simply said "It is all in the Terms & Conditions". I pointed out that I had seen those two years ago & was I seriously expected to remember the fine details? Would it not be consistent with the 'customer focus image' that Easyspace presents to send out a reminder? I asked what could be done & was told "I can send you a fresh set of Terms & Conditions". Customer service to be truly proud of ! ! I'm sure Easyspace are fully within their rights. Choose for yourself if this is a company with which you wish to do business and make sure you give them 60days notice of any change.
Thursday, 17 May 2012
The UK Treasury has admitted that the white paper on bank reform, based on the recommendations of the Sir John Vickers report, will not be published until June. If the legislation is passed much of it will not be implemented until more than 10yrs after the crisis that prompted reform. There's urgency for you. The Government can, of course,screw up education & the NHS & much else at very high speed. Meanwhile JP Morgan Chase follow UBS in uncovering massive trading losses ($2bn).JP Morgans boss, who doubtless will still be richly rewarded, admits to "errors,sloppiness and bad judgment".Then Clinton Cards is brought down with great loss of jobs by Barclays Bank & RBS selling the loans they have made to Clinton to an American competitor - American Greetings - who immediately called them in. If the banks don't see that it is their job to prop up failing businesses (& it probably isn't) it should not be the Taxpayers job to prop up failing banks. Even more so when Barclays think it is proper to set aside £2.1bn in bonuses & only £700m for dividends. The Government hopes that 'investors' will sort this mess out,but institutional investors are all too often part of the mutual backscratch society and vast numbers of ordinary retail investors don't get to vote on directors remuneration because their shares are held in 'nominee' accounts. To finally add insult to injury the Government is secretly trying to offload its shareholding (or part of it) in RBS & Lloyds at a considerable loss to the taxpayer. As its cover the Treasury Select Committee will be taking evidence on such disposal - not from the poor bloody infantry of taxpayers - but from such 'objective' individuals as the CEO of Standard Life,the Head of UK investments at Schroders and so forth. Then there's the BSkyB affair - - - No wonder the voters are deserting the Coalition in droves.
Friday, 4 May 2012
Before Labour get too cock a hoop about their local election gains they should remember the word 'Respect'. Nobody will deny that the local election results represented a strong backlash against the Coalition but they were not a ringing endorsement of Labour. The apparent ease with which George Galloway can chew up a Labour heartland should be a great worry for them. When it comes to arousing passions Galloway & Alex Salmond are streets ahead of Cameron, Osborne, Miliband & Balls, yes & indeed Clegg. Thatcher gave impetus to the 'Prime Minster as President' style of politics & was ably followed by Blair. LibDems have never gone down that route.
Rupert Murdoch said he never asked favours of politicians. Well of course not. He never needed to. It was clear even to me,as humble member of the exploited idiots who work hard, pay our taxes & don't make a pain in the butt of ourselves, that politicians would always know what Murdoch wanted and would smooth his path accordingly. The current links between the Tories & News International which are being exposed are no closer than those between Blair & Labour were. Tony flew half way round the world (at taxpayers expense?) to pay homage at the Court of King Rupert. In testimony last week it was helpfully confirmed that Tony's Europe policy was made in Wapping - not Downing Street. One document, also revealed last week, was a grovel from Gordon Brown pleading for the Sun to lay off & claiming mateship just days before the 2010 election. Just a few days afterwards the unelected emperor of the World is being ushered through the back door of No 10 to greet the new Prime Minister. Only the LibDems are untainted - despite huge efforts by NewsCorp to gain privilege access to Vince Cable when the BSkyB decision was his.