Thursday, November 30, 2006

That 70s revival

Graphic to display if Flash Player is not available.

Well, you take a week off and look what goes and happens.

We (ok, the chancellor) decides to commit at least £25bn to buy the 'next generation' of Trident nuclear missiles. And all with without anything much in the way of public debate. Yes, parliament will get a vote and it will steamroller its way through for fear of not appearing 'tough' in the face of our next bogeyman.

There is some interesting analysis on the implications of this particular instance of democracy below - particularly if you are Scottish. (Alright I confess, I am a little bit).

Read it

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lot below haven't been so busy for ages.


The arguments against not renewing Trident are well known and rehearsed - we can't show weakness in the face of 'enemies' and all that - but really, in a week where a tiny amount of Polonium 210 appears to have brought a a large part of the country to a panic-stricken halt - can it really be wise to invest ALL this money in these old-time methods of mutually assured destruction? We be quicker hiring the rebranded KGB.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

The future, the future ...

A client commissioned this small pocket cartoon about the differences between a career and a job. It turned into a nice image, thanks to the dictionary.

I shall be away for a bit, so no posts, but I promise to come back with some news for christmas.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Reload, re-arm and fire!

Light relief for those long, long November days.


The sheep poetry is particularly good - although I really like the honesty in the tag line of the site - less funny the more you reload.

That sounds a bit like the Prime Minister - who made another daft speech last night.


So, it's; No softening! Harder! Harder! More pain, More war! Unnnggghhhhh! And it made me draw this ...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Christmas present update

Fascinating BBC Business programme on Sunday night about where all the money belonging to the Farepak customers went (or got spent).

The latest

There's an interesting interview with the former chairman of the company, Nick Gilodi-Johnson (who blames the bank - HBOS) and also with an HBOS representative (who blames the management).

Anyone surprised? The liquidator says already, that there is little or no prospect that any claimant, or former saver, will see any more than about 5p for every £1 saved. And even that isn't likely until February 2007 at the earliest.

The much-vaunted fund is up to about £4m - only £36m to go.

If anyone would like to donate, they can do so here, via the family fund.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So long Donald

Well, it's about time, the end of Rumsfeld.

You get to carry the can for a disappointing set of mid term election results - and an inconvenient occupation of a large part of the middle east.

All political careers end in failure. Discuss.

Light relief

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Christmas presents

One of those stories that is so rarely reported in the UK has started to make some news - and as ever, it's only because it's approaching christmas.

It's about less wealthy people, we used to call them poor, although the government invented a new euphemism at the last election, 'hard-working families.'

About 150,000 hard working families saved throughout the year to ensure they would be able to afford the feast of consumerism that is christmas - unfortunately, this year the long-standing vehicle for their savings, Farepak, went bust. This appears to have come about through a combination of bad management decisions and the sudden withdrawal of overdraft facilities by Halifax Bank of Scotland.

The average saver appears to have lost about £400 and some, a great deal more.

There is much hand-wringing in the political world and some signs of 'generosity' from retailers offering PR cheerful donations - and good for them.

But consider this, Farepak's liabilities to HBOS were about £40m when they foreclosed, HBOS has already recovered this from asset stripping the business since its closure. Today, it has just offered a low 'seven-figure' sum to a collection for the ex-savers - BBC now reporting it is £2m.

Do we really feel this is enough to go around?

Even my maths make a loss of £60m (150,000 x £400) for savers across the country - £2m seems more and more like an insult.

The total loss to savers appears to actually be about £40m. Where's the outrage?

BBC reports
HBOS responds

Oh - and in cartoon land, it means a lot of folk will be turing to our traditional friends, the loan sharks, this christmas.

Is you is, or is you ain't my buddy?

The traditional hand-wringing, po-faced analysis of the US mid-term elections is clogging the airwaves - 'seminal moment', 'deeply important', 'epoch-changing' etc etc.

Will George Bush be a lame duck if the Republicans can't hold onto control of the House and the Senate?

To be honest it barely matters, every President of whatever colour, is a lame duck after his last set of mid-terms and this is because everybody else is so busy planning the next presidential election in two years time.

Bush has perhaps made it slightly worse for himself this time, by being hamstrung in the middle east too, but the idea that his future is going to be massively affected by these elections is just nonsense.

Looking at it optimistically, it's also rather an encouraging time for people who don't believe in the kind of policies that this administration has promoted. The wonderful statute law that the US has for limited terms of service as President (eight years maximum) means you can always see the end coming!

Anyone fancy a bit of that here?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Everything's gone green

Graphic to display if Flash Player is not available.

There's no trend like a new political trend.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New portfolio site

Well, after some months of agonising, we've finally finished my new portfolio site. It's been long overdue for a clean-up and I think we've found a good, timeless solution. Be interested to hear what any of you visitors think of it.