Sunday, 31 January 2010

Diana Watch

Celebrate good times, come on! It's a celebration! 0.1% growth in the UK economy, we are, officially, out of recession. Excuse me whilst I blow into some celebratory whistle type thing.

 A nice new feature of UK news reporting is a complete lack of context. The BBC reported that our GDP dropped a record 4.8% during this recession, although the OECD says 5.5%. But what about other countries? I am not a fan of the “but at least it's not as bad as them” school of thought, i.e. “yes, I am fat but not as fat as them” or “yes our rates of teenage pregnancy is high but it's not as high as theirs” because it is usually a distracting irrelevance but here it is useful. It is possible, as it was a global recession that affected all economies, to see how Government responses and actions affected the outcomes to a certain degree. I do except that there differences in how other countries economies are structured, some are based more on manufacturing and others, like ours, lean towards the financial services. Even with these caveats I think comparison is worthwhile.

GDP fall %
Unemployment Rate %

You could spend all day looking at each country and comparing it to us to but this gives you a quick snapshot.
 So did our Government stop it getting any worse? Ok, they were complicit in the whole thing to begin with but since then have they picked up their game a bit? It does seem that when you look at the numbers that it could have been much worse. Whilst 8.5% unemployment is why to high it is much better then both Germany, France, Italy and Spain and it is lower than the UK recessions in the !980’s, when it was 9.6%, and in the 1990’s, when it was 9.5%. There are different theories as to why the unemployment rates have been different this time and they were discussed on Radio 4’s Think Allowed on the 20/1/10, you can listen here (or you can download the podcast if you want to listen.)
 I am not saying that this recession wasn’t that bad, our GDP fell by much more than the preceding ones (1980’s 4.7% and 1990’s 2.5%), but you do need context in able to judge things properly.
 It is, of course, easy for the opposition to say it would have been better this way or that way but there is no way of proving that. The things that happened happened, everything else is hypothetical and not really of much help.

 The Kraft takeover of Cadbury is another example. “OMG, a foreign company is taking over one of are proud British companies. Think of all the workers that will be sacked” seems to be the line that is being taken by the press. There have been many stories speculating on what may happen to the workers or whether or not the factories will be closed and moved to somewhere  scary  in foreign. What they are not mentioning is that Cadbury employs 7000 less people then it did 2 years ago, so they are doing quite a good job of firing people on their own thank you very much but that doesn't fit the press' narrative and so it is ignored.

 I wanted to blog about me vs. the massive douchebag that is the Health Ranger (the least popular of the Power Rangers) and his response to my complaints about his website and their removal of my comments on his nasty article about what “Sceptics Believe”. All I asked him to do was to put some links or references into his article so that he could show us where he got his information from. Oh and I commented on some of the other comments. Then I got a bit stroppy and sent them a message on this new fangled electronic mail thingy,  

I am a little disappointed that you do not allow people who don't agree with you to comment on the articles posted on this site.
 I have now been blocked twice for asking questions and correcting people’s mistakes. This hardly leads to an open discussion on topics.
 I like forward to hearing from you and you explanations as to why you shy away form debate.
 Thank you for your time.

As you can see I was perfectly polite and lovely, although you would expect no less from me.
 For those that don't know Mike Adams, aka the Health Ranger, runs a website called and it is a spectacular fact free zone. It seems to exist only to shift product, mostly his, and very little else. It recommends all the usual suspects of Alt med and Woo, such as Reike (disproved by a child), acupuncture (disproved by many, many studies) and, of course, Homeopathy (It seems everyone survived their overdose yesterday.)
 All I wanted was a quick exchange of emails. A few words from him to explain his, and the websites, position on moderating comments and dealing with criticism.
 I wanted to blog about this but I can’t because I haven’t heard a thing back form him/them. Way to get involved in the debate you snake oil salesman! Stop taking advantage of the sick, the worried, the gullible, the poorly informed, the trusting, for your own personal gain you unpleasant man.

The Award Having The Joint Lowest Age Of Consent in the World.

This goes to the Vatican. I will say no more but here is a link that shows you Ages of Consent from around the world. I am deeply saddened to see in how many countries Gay sex is illegal.

The Award for Looking a Bit Like a Comedy Slightly Racist Puppet,

Separated at birth, Gok Wan and Team America's Kim Jong-il puppet.
The Award for Showing Again How Wrong the Tories Are about Everything,

This goes to you lot because you are not getting divorced as much as you were. The divorce rate has dropped for the 5th year in a row. Now I’m not saying that the Tories “broken Britain” and tax ideas to encourage people to stay together things are gimmicks and not seriously thought through social policies but…. Oh now wait, that is exactly what I’m saying.

Things that I haven’t talked about but wanted to,

Andrew Wakefield is back in the headlines. It seems that he was/is a twat and his research was very bad. MMR is safe.

Clothes! We seem to be terrified of clothes. The French seem to want to ban the Burka, Mail and Express readers are terrified of nice warm jumpers with hoods and now it seems that the Welsh (specifically Tesco workers) are scared of pyjamas.
 I have always been curious about the differentiation between clothing types, i.e. Night clothes/day clothes, underwear and a bikini. What is the difference between my PJ bottoms and someone else's jogging bottoms?

In the week that a survey (probably rubbish because it was in a papers revealed that the British are much more liberal than they used to be (did they ask anyone in Dorchester?) a little section of Society proved wholeheartedly how they don't represent you and me.
 The House of Lords (remember them? The Labour Party promised us reform, went well then) have voted down the Government's Equality Bill because they claim it would force the Church to employ Gays and Transsexuals despite the Government saying it wouldn't. Although what would it matter if it did?

Have an excellent week my lovely readers.

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