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Thursday, 30 July 2009

Everything carries on as usual

Lord Salisbury, a late Victorian Prime Minister said something I have never forgotten. "One thing long experience of life has taught me is that you never should trust experts."

With what delight I read this morning that organic food does you no good at all.

And with what disgust I read that the Great Prudent Stalinist Toad, saviour of the poor, has over the last 12 years created a tax system whereby the poorest people pay the most tax - 27.9% of their gross income, whereas the richest pay only 10%.

And with what a morbid sense of utter predictability I read that this masterly economist feels it is a good idea to spend £1 billion more of our money on creating non-jobs for unemployed people.

The first 47,000 jobs will cost £300,000,000 - just under £64,000 per job.

Er ... are you on the right planet, Bloato? Did you miss the classes on adding, subtracting and all that at school?

Letting that demented spendthrift anywhere near the National Till reminds me of the old joke about giving a gallon of beer to a drunk.

You know exactly what he's going to do with it. You're just not sure which wall it will end up against.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Fresh in from the mysterious kingdom of Bolloxiana

The following example of the triumph of the incomprehensible was sent to one of my loyal readers, Brian Wright, who hoped I might translate.

The clearly unemployable author whose name I leave out from kindness is from a firm called SynGro, who - judging by his language - specialise in some kind of fertiliser, and his email read:

Further to my email below, would you like to set-up an introductory meeting to explore if/how we could bring benefit to *******?

With the continuing decline in customer satisfaction for airline passengers, this is an opportune time for ******* to ensure competitive advantage by continuing their excellent customer experience record through a customer advocacy programme, which will result in increased customer retention/recovery/acquisition and product/service uptake.

We can help you achieve this by assisting your company create an action-orientated continual improvement environment, based on objective, proactive and reactive customer feedback – our process and software allows for continual customer feedback to be provided real-time to the responsible individuals within an organisation – those that are empowered to act on and resolve customer issues – this instantaneous line of sight, as we like to call it, can therefore be applied to the front line, back office staff and management, ensuring the voice of the customer is seamlessly integrated through the relevant facets of the business – for example, this actionable insight could be applied to sales processes (including your website), reservation, check-in, boarding, baggage, in-flight services, operational routes, flight times, pricing and so on – so that your customers’ needs and expectations can be satisfied, but more importantly, exceeded, continuously.

I’m positive a short meeting will be highly beneficial, even if you aren’t in a position to pursue further. Would August/September suit?

This is the first time I have actually seen the automatic bullshit generator actually used by a firm. Well done, young man! You will undoubtedly get the clients you deserve, failing which a place in the government probably beckons.

Oh, and sorry, Brian - I have no more idea what he's talking about than you do, but he is quite clearly as full of shit as a Christmas turkey.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Another libinous suggestion from Valladares

I'm desperately busy at the moment but I couldn't resist relaying the latest from my friend Daz Valladares.

He works with lots of tourist boards - in fact knows more about the subject than anyone I know. Or maybe he just has a deep streak of cynicism. Or perhaps the first simply begets the second.

"The Monsoon rains have fallen heavily on the west coast of India but not in Bihar. Farmers there are so incensed that they have decided to embarrass the Gods.

Their young unmarried daughters will plough the land in the nude, chanting ancient hymns to invoke the celestial beings responsible for rain. They vow to continue till their prayers are answered.

Could this be a ruse to attract tourists?"

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Intimations of idiocy

Every day I see fatuous statements I mean to comment on – but rarely get round to.

On Sunday I noticed:

1. A sign in a small charity shop in School Road, Sale seeking people to “play key roles” there. Doing what, pray? Cleaning the toilets? The word key should be banned unless referring to something that opens doors.

2. The prime minister saying upon the death of Britain’s oldest man that “I had the privilege of meeting Henry many times.” Gordon, will you be so kind as to keep quiet for a minute, breathe calmly, then make your way to the nearest home for the mentally disturbed?

3. Some idiot who works for Boris Johnson (an incipient megalomaniac, by the way) calling a scheme for cyclists “iconic.” This almost pips the time some brain-dead marketing journalist called Walker’s Crisps an “iconic” brand.

When the world comes to an end, it will not be because of swine flu - which I rather hoped was something that only killed members of parliament - or global warming. It will be because nobody knows what words mean.

Incidentally I have just decided that things like Twitter are the online equivalent of people who talk in loud voices on their mobile phones. Nobody is really that interested.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Important wisdom from Ken McCarthy. Read carefully

In case you don't know who Ken is, he's the guy who ran the first ever seminar about marketing on the internet 15 years ago.

This morning I got something from him you really should read.

For years I've summed one main point he makes by asking why you should want to waste time (and money) talking to everyone when you only need to talk to somebody. Somebody interested. It's about being relevant.

He's actually talking about video on the net, but his reasoning (and commendable contempt for idiot analysts) apply to all messages and all media. He also explains why all us old direct marketing lags tell you long copy always beats short.

Here he is, talking about predictions he's made for the past four years.

We said Internet video was going to explode, take over the Internet and shake things up in TV Land and that's pretty much what's happened.

Speaking of NOT on target, in the early days of Internet video (remember way back then?), legions of newly minted Internet video experts would loudly tell anyone who would listen that Internet videos had to be short or no one would watch them.

"Viewership drops off dramatically after two minutes."

The idiocy of this pronouncement always galled me...

=== Duh!

Of course, viewership drops off dramatically at the beginning!

That's because the video in question is not a fit for all the viewers who clicked on it. Those who are interested in the subject will watch much longer videos - and do so gladly.

Imagine if the Nielsen ratings counted all the views of people who channel surfed cable twenty times a minute. 2 seconds here on Program A. 5 seconds there on Program B. 3 seconds there. 1 second there.

By that logic cable and network TV shows should only be 5 seconds long because "the metrics" show that viewership drops dramatically after five seconds.

Well, until recently, the idiot analysts were winning. Not because they were right, but because they had the momentum of unconsidered opinion behind them.

Well, the latest stats are in and..

=== Here comes the reality check

- Last year, the top 25 shows on blip.tv averaged under five minutes. This year, the number is up to 14 minutes, roughly THREE TIMES longer - an increase accomplished in just 12 months!

- Internet video is mainstream now with about 150 million viewers in the US alone (about half the population) and the average viewer is watching 97 videos per month. Pretty amazing when you consider just five years ago, the typical Internet use was watching zero videos per month.

- Netflix has made over 12,000 feature length films available to its customers for instant streaming - and no one's complaining "they're too long."

Two interesting quotes from a recent New York Times article on this subject:

"People are getting more comfortable, for better or worse, bringing a computer to bed with them."
- Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.TV

"I think it comes down to quality winning out over minutes and seconds."
- Rob Barnett, Founder of My Damn Channel.

=== Yes, and there's more

As for computers in bed, things are really going to take off when one of the high tech rocket scientists makes it brain dead simple to search and stream online video with a TV remote and watch it through your TV set. If that doesn't toll the death knell for TV as we know it, it'll be pretty darn close.

As for quality winning? Not quite. It's not quality that matters. It's relevance.

If I am a left handed Lesbian lacrosse fan from Lithuania, I'll watch HOURS of left handed Lesbian lacrosse content from Lithuania. Quality doesn't hurt, but it runs a distant second to relevance.

=== Quality matters only this far

1) Your quality has to be "good enough" to not be totally annoying and

2) There isn't another left handed Lesbian Lithuanian lacrosse channel out there that does a better job than yours because no matter how we improve the medium, normal people only want to watch one program at a time.

=== The future

We're heading to narrowcasting, even if a few topics - sports, financial reporting, and big news - still will command big audiences.

The future market for the traditional boob tube boils down to this: 1) the technically backward, 2) the institutionalized (in prison, in hospitals, in nursing homes), 3) three year olds and younger who don't yet have the cognitive skills to manage a remote.

As I've been saying to broadcast and cable for years now: Change or die.

Ken runs www.systemintensive.com - the best if you want to understand online marketing. I'll be speaking at his next London event - and he'll be speaking at my www.eadim.com event, which is ideal if you want to understand all direct marketing. Incestuous, eh?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I bet this gets you panting ... or why do all these people speak such tripe?

In case you hadn't noticed, our world is divided into two warring camps.

People who talk and write utter bollocks and have jobs that achieve nothing - or actually make things worse - and the rest of us, who pay for them to do so.

The Bolloqistas include almost everyone involved in politics at any level for any party, and far too many people working for large corporations.

An almost infallible sign in the latter case is a job title including the words "Strategy, Strategic or Officer". This usually means they long since wriggled out of having to do anything useful, and talk guff all day.

Here are two examples of what provoked that little outburst. First, an email I got the other day:

Change Management: How to Get Reluctant Employees to Align Behavior with Company Goals.

Program #AC1106

Date: Thursday, August 6, 2009
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern

Program Overview:

If your organization in going through some type of change initiative right now – and who isn’t?

Note one misspelling and one piece of bad grammar, and then reflect on the underlying message. Are your people thinking for themselves? Here's how to stamp it out and turn them into loyal little company drones.

Nothing great ever got done by somebody who aligned themselves with the bosses. It was done by people who asked: "Isn't there a better way?" That is actually a pretty good way to define what it means to be creative.

And the other day I read one of the Millipede brothers - Climate Change Secretary "Ed", the one whose ears don't stick out so much - explaining why we're all going to have to pay a whole lot more for our fuel because of something Green. (That's another word that always carries a great stinking wodge of politically correct tripe in its wake):

"It's important to be sensitive to people's issues around windpower but our default position as a country needs to change."

What kind of tosser comes out with that sort of pap? Can nobody in politics speak English? And why do we need a Climate Change Secretary ? Will he make the slightest bit of difference? No. King Canute sorted out that little question 1,000 or so years ago. Kick the Pede out and tell him to get a real job. Aligning yourself up GB's rectum can only take you so far.

The main "issue" around windpower apart from those hideous giant propellers is that it doesn't work. In Germany, where they have invested more than anywhere else the man in charge has actually admitted this.

He told the truth! That could never happen here.

By the way, sportslovers, England has beaten Australia at cricket at Lords for the first time in 75 years.

If it took you that long to get something right wouldn't you be modest? But no. Cue for sick-bag fodder about "our lionhearted heroes" etc., a la "Michael Jackson is the greatest man since Jesus Christ" and "Princess Di was a saint walking among us".

The chief problem in our society besides the collapse in education is no understanding of what matters, what doesn't - and why.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Got the wrong bloke here

There is a plague of social networks. The last one to grasp me to its clammy bosom is called MyLife.

Like a sad fool I tend to accept all invitations. As the villainous Robert Maxwell remarked (his only known joke) "If I were a woman I'd be permanently pregnant. I can't say no."

Anyhow I got a message just now asking: Who's Searching for You? "Oh shit - creditors," I thought, with a frisson of alarm. But no, on the side bar I saw this:

“Steve is still cute … single … and he was looking for you!”

Over the years I have enthusiastically partaken of more bizarre sexual antics than any sane person ought to - but, sorry Steve, you'll have to search elsewhere. Try the Toad. He needs a friend. Any friend. Even you, you big girl's blouse.

Marooned in the past; halfway into the present; bemused by the future

It's no secret that the newspaper industry is in trouble. Advertising revenue is going down as fast as a well-paid call girl.

It's the internet what done it.

Now that everyone expects to get news and information free on line, why should they pay for a paper? Newspapers haven't been able to work out a new way to make money. Ruthless Rupe - smartest journalist on the planet - has sunk billions into buying internet "social networks" whose valuation is based not on profit, but on expectations.

(Does that sound a little reminiscent of the Great Dot Con, by the way?)

Every morning I get a copy of London's free paper Metro "delivered" to my computer. I am greeted by the sort of crass overclaim papers have been using since I started reading my parents' Daily Express in the '40s: "Welcome to your favourite newspaper".

What patronising, assumptive rubbish. The intellectual level of Metro - a reduced version of The Daily Mail with the best bits missed out - is so low that only a halfwit could make it their favourite (though it's miles more intelligent than the vapid pair of evening freesheets we get here.)

The thing most interesting about Metro online is the clunky technology. They haven't worked out a way of making it easy. They repeatedly ask me to register, though I've done so maybe twenty times, and the tortuous process of actually getting to read the whole paper is maddening. They haven't grasped that the key to online success is to make everything quick and easy.

Yesterday all the people in infoland were getting all fired up because someone commissioned a "typical teenager" to tell them about his reading, eating and browsing habits.

He revealed nothing new or surprising to anyone with teenage kids, but one question is this: can you think of any other circumstance in which intelligent, highly paid people would take a sample of one as a guide to what millions are doing?

A second question is, even if this particular youngster accurately represents all the others, what are you going to do about what you have learned?

I can tell you. You will have lots of pointless meetings and discussions, at considerable expense, with no practical conclusions.

Talking of which, did you know there is a Minister for Equality? What the fuck for?

Get rid of her - for it is the loathsome Harriet Harman - and send the money to the army.

Monday, 13 July 2009

A little surprise for you net-fiends

My friend Michael Rhodes the excellent web-meister at Leger Holidays sent me something interesting last week.

It seems that while many of us marketers are wetting our pants at the wonders of the internet 60% of UK consumers think offline direct marketing is far more likely to get them to visit the website of a company they have not bought from before.

This comes from a new survey by Pitney Bowes, who have decided to call themselves a "messaging specialist" - typical corporate wankery.

Their press release says the same thing about six times on the grounds no doubt that they think all marketers are idiots, but what it revealed was clear even to an old fool like me.

Anyhow, only 24% of people said a message delivered through digital media such as email, a sponsored web link, or an ad on a social networking website would drive them to a company site with a first-time purchase in mind.

The survey covered 10,000 adults in the UK, Germany, France, Scandinavia and Benelux. Besides being written in dire marketing gabble it had one weird figure. It said "UK consumers aged 35-34 (67%) were most likely to visit and consider buying from a website for the first time after being directed there by an offline message".

I think it is about 12 years since I (and many other people) started suggesting this would be likely. Generally, media do not replace each other; they complement each other. But try and tell the internet zealots that!

The good news, of course, is that there aren't that many people around who can write decent ads or direct mail. Some of the best have just given up because of lack of demand and the absurdly low rates being paid.

I look forward eagerly to hiking up my prices, ho ho ho. Actually, I look forward to the 48 hour day because we're rushed off our feet. Better than the alternative,I guess.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Lurching somewhere between the obscene and the surreal ...

...is the performance of the current, astonishingly cretinous British maladministration.

What do you call somebody who pays too much for something? Not very smart.

But what do you call somebody who pays twice as much as necessary for something that doesn't even work? And what do you say if this little clerical error cost £157 million??

Dozy fuckwit doesn't even remotely begin to cover it, does it?

Especially as in this case it's not a new TV or washing machine.

It's the new vehicles some idiot (a entire committee of idiots, no doubt) has bought for British troops in Afghanistan at £600,000 a pop.

They were rejected as unsafe by the US military - not once, but twice - because they don't protect properly against the roadside bombs that have been causing such havoc.

The Ministry of Defence (Manager: Bob Arseworth) has ordered 262 of them to replace the Land Rovers that have been doing such a bad job. That's But the Americans have ordered a safer model - at half the price.

This mistake will cost an unpredictable number of brave men's lives.

What does that make those who placed the order? Culpably negligent halfwits? Don't they read the information they get?

Talking of which, the Mad Bloato has just promised to improve troops' equipment. Equipment which is not up to scratch because of his criminal failure to spend money when it matters.

Will the morons responsible be named? Will they get fired - as you and I would be for making such a mistake? Will they be prosecuted for culpable negligence? Will they even be questioned?

Or will they all retire with titles and fat inflation protected pensions?

Where would you put your money? Assuming you have any when this lot have finished their demolition job on Britain.

Incidentally, whilst British public servants are all, all honorable men they often seem to end up after retirement making a few quid with people who supply stuff to the government one way or another.

Corruption here doesn't exist in quite the way it does in some other places, but once you're on the golden treadmill, you seem to be fixed for life. One way in which many do well is by being appointed to what they call Quangos.

These are glorified committees supposed to take care of this and that. The members are not elected. These are just nice little well-paid jobs for the boys on the inside. A good example is the Financial Services Authority, which failed so totally to foresee the great Bloato Ballsup we're all living through

The people on these Quangos have all just been given a 20% pay rise.

And how has your year been so far?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Which teenage problem matters more to you?

Have you ever visited Postman Al's website?

Postman Al Johnson runs the Home Office, and a quick trip to his crazed online realm is all you need to know what's wrong with things in BloatoLand.

This is the lead story on the site, dated a month ago (they must be so busy, busy if they can post that rarely):

Identity cards will be rolled out more quickly under new government proposals.

Residents of Greater Manchester will be able to apply for an ID card before the end of this year, and residents in the northwest will be able to apply from early next year.

From 2011-12, ID cards will roll out to the wider population on an entirely voluntary basis.

This accelerated roll-out will benefit those people who need the cards the most. ID cards will be particularly helpful for young people who need to prove their age, and will empower businesses to ensure that they aren’t selling items such as alcohol and cigarettes to those who are underage.

What is all this drivel about? Why does it matter? And by the way, wouldn't it be a good idea to shoot people who use the word "empower" - immediately after crucifying the ones who write "accelerated rollout"?

Well, there is a line much quoted by politicians which I think Louis XIV said first: "To govern is to choose."

Wouldn't any half-competent economic manager - let alone the brilliant "I saved the world from financial meltdown" Toadocrat - say: "Hmmm. Let's divide all expenditure between that which is essential and that which isn't, then take the money we're pissing away on the latter and allocate it to the former"

Does that take too much brain power? As a congenital ditherer I am sure I'd be useless as a governor, but isn't it obvious?

Nobody wants these cards. All available reports suggest they will achieve nothing. And since nobody has to have them they're pointless anyhow. Yet the cost of introducing them is somewhere between £5.4 billion and (says one report) £18 billion.

How the hell they could cost anything like that mystifies me, though I bet the phrase "thieving consultant" comes into it.

But how the hell it can possibly be a sane investment mystifies me even more.

Is that money wisely used in making sure businesses don't worry (as if they give a shit) about selling booze to kids - which it won't, as the stupid cards aren't compulsory? Wouldn't it be better spent on proper equipment for those kids' friends fighting unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Surely some choices are easier than others, even to the collection of crooks and village idiots running Britain.

What also amazes me is the equally alarming inability of Cameron's bunch of expense account clowns to choose between what matters and what doesn't - and speak out.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Absolutely right, Mr. Ingrams,

In my spare time I no longer read Schopenhauer or Tolstoy, but mostly thrillers, historical novels, books about old London, biographies, diaries, memoirs and such.

I have mentioned before, I hope, James Lees-Milne, whose utterly magnificent diaries I have been reading with great joy for years now. I thought of him when I read something by Richard Ingrams in The Independent about David Cameron.

Ingrams says Cameron is following his role model Tony Blair in making meaningless apologies.

Blair apologised to the Irish nation for the potato famine of the 1840s while Cameron has now apologised for the Thatcher government's controversial Section 28, which banned local authorities and schools from promoting homosexuality. "I hope you can forgive us," he said with apparent sincerity.

It is not always clear to whom these political apologies are addressed. I suppose Cameron would argue that he was abasing himself before the gay community and it was their forgiveness that he craved.

Ingrams then went on to talk about the homosexual propagandists like Peter Tatchell, saying "For all I know there might even be gays who actually approved of Section 28."

I am quite sure there are. One gay friend of mine finds all these gay evangelists deeply embarrassing; and Lees-Milne, who was enthusiastically bi-sexual certainly disapproved.

Why should homosexuality or for that matter any other kind of sexuality need promoting? These should be private matters. But even more of a mystery: why does oily Dave want to stick his oar - or anything else - in.

It reinforces my worries about the man. If he feels that strongly about it he should keep his mouth shut, quietly make his way to a friendly public toilet and get on with whatever he learnt to do at Eton.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The celebrated military expert Bob "bollocks" Arseworth makes a prediction

One cannot actually guarantee that every single member of the current cabinet will be utterly useless, dishonest and cretinous, but the selection policy certainly helps.

Mr. Bob Arseworth, currently defence secretary, has been almost permanently in office since the Bliar arrived in 1997, despite the fact that he has never shown the slightest sign of competence at anything except malice in his life.

The only things one can find of any interest in his record are:

1. He was almost, but not quite, a member of the International Marxist Group - didn't even have the guts.

2. He was a shop steward at Jaguar in the 1970s, the period when he and his pals destroyed what was left of the UK motor industry with the help of its managers.

In his latest role, with uncanny prescience, he announced today that "more troops will die in Afghanistan".

There is good reason to believe he doesn't give a shit, though.

The chief reason why more troops will die - chiefly from roadside bombs - is because Toad the Obscene wouldn't pay for equipment to be upgraded.

However, not long ago when someone in Parliament pointed out this truth, Bob the Repugnant shouted out "Bollocks".

So we know where his heart is. Up his arse, next to his brains.

Dare we hope he'll visit to Helmand soon - and benefit from some judicious friendly fire? Or perhaps take a solo joy-ride in a not quite adequately armoured vehicle to see what happens to his bollocks?

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Putrid salute to gullibility

Today I received - not for the first time - a message from "Continental Who's Who".

It was a bit like the one I keep getting from someone who tells me I can belong to something vaguely, but not really, associated with Princeton University.

It read:

Drayton, Welcome to our Inner Circle.

Inclusion in our prestigious organisation is a career milestone only available to those who have demonstrated exceptional professional knowledge, expertise and client service - and I think you quintessentially meet those standards.

Our forum enables you to be reached by thousands of professionals and your peers with the purpose of doing business with you. Simply put - Members are friends you haven’t met yet.

I want to thank you for helping us to create a stronger platform.

Much Continued Success,

George Malone

Executive Director

What total jargon-crammed bollocks - rather like a society for the mutual masturbation of wannabes. Mr. Malone (though it isn't his real name, is it?) should be sentenced to a lifetime of dreary English lessons. But plenty will sign up, won't they?

It's hard to beat anything that combines flattery - no matter how insincere - with the shrewd exploitation of our abiding insecurity.

But what really depresses me is that I regularly have to deal with educationally deprived executives who actually talk shit like that - but don't know it's shit.

These are worrying times.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Tell it to the polar bears, girl

Yesterday was an important day for me. July 4th was my late mother's birthday.

On that date here in the U.S., though, they celebrate their freedom from us Brits. Last night I concluded this gave everyone the right to get just as drunk once a year as they do every night in Soho.

Maybe even drunker. One guy I was watching from the vantage point of an excellent Brooklyn restaurant spent 45 minutes trying and failing to get from the door of the bar opposite to the edge of the pavement, which is a good two yards away. I think his master-plan was to cross the road.

But I jest. The 4th of July really gave everyone here the freedom to choose their own politicians, who provide me with a hilarious alternative comedy to the one running in Whitehall.

I follow them carefully, too. For until Barack Obama runs out of all the remaining money here, which may take weeks, U.S. politics will affect us all. So I read with interest a statement from the fragrant Sarah Palin in yesterday's New York Post.

She has resigned as Governor of Alaska, with - experts say - a plan to run for President because, she said, using the Royal "we" usually associated with George 111 and his descendants:

"We know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale... I also felt that to embrace the conventional lame duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose."

This astonishing flight of oratory had me recalling with fondness the articulate, witty, crystal clear and altogether inspiring George W. Bush. What the FUCK was she drinking before she shot that lot out?

She would have been the most powerful person in the world if McCain had won and then dropped dead.

Think on that.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Necropower rules, OK

If you ever wonder about the difference between being alive and dead, wonder no more.

Mark Roesler, chairman and chief executive officer of CMG Worldwide, whose clients include James Dean and Marilyn Monroe said yesterday, re Michael Jackson:

"There's really not that much of a difference between the living clients we represent and the deceased client."


Friday, 3 July 2009

Smirking Mandy takes piss - again

I see Lord Mandelbum has taken time off from his task of making sure the Bliar's lies about the Iraq war are not revealed to say something risibly hypocritical even by his obscenely subterranean standards.

The "Business Secretary" whose chief business experience is in force-feeding his bulging wallet with our money said "The government is not some giant ATM in which inefficient failing businesses can come and get any sort of bailout or subsidy when they get themselves into trouble. It's not the government's money, it's the taxpayers'."

This piece of two-faced bollocks brings a magnificent new dimension to the phrase "you patronising wanker."

This insane, can't-count government continues to squeeze businesses so as to subsidise hopelessly mis-employed public servants in such demented tasks as making sure there are enough gay, transgendered and bisexual fire-"persons" around.

It is people in real business who work ever longer hours while these understandably demotivated souls with fantasy jobs take twice as many "sick" days off as people in the real world.

It is people in real business whose nervous breakdowns pay for the pensions of the monstrous regiment of drunks and freeloaders like Mandy-Pandy in the parliaments here and in Europe.

It is people in real business who are forced to waste ever more precious time and energy filling in the crazed, toppling mountain of incomprehensible forms Bliar and McToad have introduced in their drive to create a Stalinist control state.

By the way, Mandy's speech referred to one of the rail firms which, like so many cock-ups, were called into life by that giant ATM machine he has so lucratively adorned: the British government.

You can blame the last Tory shower for the loopy rail set-up; and I wouldn't count on the next to sort it out. Cameron's business experience was in PR - or organised lying. Not a good augury.

The most worrying thing about Mandelson to me is that he is clearly the cleverest of the lot in the Mad Kingdom of Bloato. Unfortunately like many clever men he takes the rest of us for idiots.

On anothet topic, today most people in England were hoping Andy Murray would win at Wimbledon.

If he were English many, perhaps most Scots would have been supporting his opponent. A shame, and a sad comment on our disunited kingdom.

The Bliar and the Bloated One have a serious challenger

I am of that trusting generation brought up to believe that everything is bigger and better in America.

So how wonderful to sit in my Long Island motel and watch Jon Stewart on Comedy Central demolishing Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. For this is a man whose all-round arseholdom looks like totally outdoing the two lying, useless wretches who have landed us Brits in the dumps.

The governor, for those unfamiliar with his romantic, half-witted saga, got caught out screwing an Argentine mistress when he'd told his wife he was out wandering up and down mountains somewhere here in the U.S.

Now I think that sexual misdemeanours have no bearing on political competence. Palmerston, whom I mentioned a few weeks ago, was a great Prime Minister, though a thorough-going ram. Clinton was a devious, lying prick - you'll pardon the word, I hope - and a disastrous President no matter how admirable his track record in the blow-job department.

Sanford's problem is just amazingly poor judgement. Despite the wonderful timing of Michael Jackson's demise which blew him off the front pages, instead of hiding away somewhere, after saying he would resign he changed his mind - because resigning "would be too easy".

On top of this he's been making a series of sickeningly mawkish statements about his Argentinian "soul-mate" (yes, he called her that) and their lurv-affair. It's hard to know what would be best for him - frontal lobotomy or castration. His brains are clearly located in his scrotum.

(I hasten to add that my late brother always told me my prick was my compass - but then on the other hand I've never pretended to competence in anything of importance.)