Emmerdale: The Musical

"I've been trying to lure them with free tickets to Emmerdale: The Musical, but they're still a bastard to kill."

Gonna be a real shame when The Mash goes the same way as The Onion but for now it's still brilliant.


Daily Thoughts

From a few mornings Word for Today - proof that David Cameron is a poor poor leader:

Qualities of a Good Leader
...Seek out... men of good reputation... whom we may appoint over this business. Acts 6:3

Good leaders practise four qualities. First, submission. Only a leader who has followed well, knows how to lead others well. Connecting with people becomes possible because you've walked in their shoes. Leaders who've never submitted to authority tend to be proud, unrealistic and autocratic Second, self-discipline. To make consistently good decisions requires character and self-discipline. To do otherwise is to lose control of ourselves. British essayist John Foster writes, 'A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself. He belongs to whatever can make a captive of him.' Peter writes, 'Knowing God leads to self-control' (2 Peter 1:5-6 NLT) Third, patience. Leaders look ahead, think ahead and want to move ahead. That's what makes them leaders. But the true goal of leadership is not to cross the finishing line first, but to take as many others with you as you can. For that reason you have to deliberately slow your pace, stay connected to your people, keep them informed and inspired, enlist the help of others to fulfil your vision, and keep going. And you can't do that if you're running too far ahead of everybody. Solomon writes, 'Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride' (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT). Finally, accountability. Many people feel that accountability is a willingness to explain your actions. In reality, real accountability begins long before you take action. Most wrong actions come about because we are not being accountable early enough.

And as any reader of Cameron's actions of late he has been found wanting on many counts, vying for the swivel-eyed, lunacy of focus groups and faux-lobbyists, terrified at what handing over the reigns of power to the people would really look like. And with a call for localism that is no such thing, we are all loser here.


Months Most Expensive UK Face Save?

Plans to scrap free milk for children under five will not go ahead, Downing Street has said.

It comes after UK Health Minister Anne Milton set out the proposals in a letter to Scottish Public Health Minister Shona Robison.

Downing Street said Prime Minister David Cameron "did not like" the idea of scrapping the free milk scheme.

I bet he didn't; who would like to be pilloried like Thatcher was for an asinine scheme keeping millions in hoc to the state.

Very silly.

Couldn't We All Just Have A Whip Around?

Fascinating to see Aunty reporting on the return of the milk snatcher this morning:

The government is considering cutting a UK-wide scheme offering free milk for under-fives in nursery or daycare, the BBC has learned.

A few obvious things first:

1. As the ~£60 million price tag shows (no doubt actually costing about £90 after it's churned through HMRC) it is hardly "free".
2. Who it's not "free" to: we've been piling up the IOUs so long it's no longer the kids drinking it that are paying but their children; and we've debt interests eclipsing our Education and armed forces budget they're paying over the odds as is.

That all said is it really beyond the realms of possibility to pay for this through charitable means? The outcry will be state-paid milk being stolen from the poor; is paying through a consortium of private charities at local level with nationally agreed pricing with milk companies really that difficult? Assuming the simple shopper isn't paying over the odds it a little under a quid each a year to keep 5 year olds in milk.


Fill Yer Boots

Has the TV licence had its day?
Free market thinktank the Adam Smith Institute has called for the TV licence fee to be scrapped, arguing that a BBC subscription model would be better for the industry and avoid criminalising poorer people. Is this the best way forward?

Get stuck in.


Not Really Getting The Point Are We?

Seems some protestors in Pakistan are kind of missing Cambo's point:

"Demonstrators burnt an effigy of Mr Cameron on the streets of Karachi over his claim that state elements in Pakistan were ‘exporting terrorism’."

So, mark your disapproval for an evidenced point of view that your country is probably undermining democratic systems in another country by supporting terrorism made by that countries PM by burning an effigy in the streets. I'm convinced they mean us no evil intent.

Still at least Pakistani officials have enough about them not to bite the hand that feeds them:

The United Kingdom and Pakistan are historic allies and friends. With around 1 million British citizens claiming Pakistani heritage, US$2 billion worth of trade flowing between our two countries each year, and almost 10,000 Pakistanis studying in the UK, there is much that unites us.

Sustainable development and poverty reduction in Pakistan are key priorities. With this in mind, the UK has committed to spending £665 million on development aid to Pakistan over the next four years. Within this total, the UK will provide over £130 million to help improve healthcare, and £120 million of support direct to Pakistan’s budget, which will support macroeconomic stability, the implementation of the IMF programme and social protection for poor people. Education is a priority and so nearly £200 million of this funding is specifically to support a variety of education programmes.

So in order to protect a contentious ~£1.4Bn in "trade" we hand over the better part of £0.6Bn over the next 4 years not to mention the unimaginable losses of life and money wasted in the war in Afganistan antagonised by Pakistani Intelligence agencies?

You want to do something about the dire public finances Mr Cameron? You might like to start by folding the quasi-socialist, agit-prop DFID's functions into the foreign office and reducing their remit to covering disaster relief only; no more schools teaching the delights of socialism. No more diversity counsellors in villages with starving children. No more British millions disappearing into the Swiss bank accounts of Palestinian militants; you want to build an orphanage in the wastes of some African hellhole? Fine - put out your request direct to the taxpayers and see the money roll in- charitable contributions in the wake of the tsunami some years back dwarfed government aid programmes massively; imagine what would happen without that particular monkey on our back.