A Deep Recession

I don’t want to seem indifferent to suffering, and I don’t want anyone to accuse me of minimising the likely effect of the recession, because the coming months will very probably be a lot tougher – for millions of people – than the boom times we have all recently enjoyed.

The column can be read here.

But after reading the BBC’s special market crisis website, complete with its jagged red arrow pointing at the floor, and after hearing the pornographic glee with which we are told that another small country has gone up the spout, and after Mr Bean, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, has informed us that this could be the worst financial crisis in history, I am afraid I want to thrash my FT on the table and shout, Whoa! Come off it, folks! This isn’t the Black Death. Pinch yourself. Are you still there? Got a pulse? Thought so. Look out of the window. Those aren’t zombies. They are men and women engaged in the normal business of getting and spending.

This isn’t some disaster movie about a virus from Mars. It’s a recession, a downturn, a correction of a kind that is indispensable to any kind of human activity, and it does not require that we all go around under a special kind of credit-crunch pall. It does not mean we have to cancel all parties and talk in hushed credit-crunch tones. It doesn’t mean we have to line our rooms with newspaper, get in the foetal position and live on tins: in fact, it means the opposite.

It was pretty disturbing, on Saturday, to read a hymn of hate, in this very newspaper, about the incompetence of the political class and their grossly inappropriate decisions to take holidays in July and August, just when the financial storm was gathering. Not since Earl Haig, we gathered, had there been such blithering myopia about the impending slaughter.

Well, I can scarcely complain about pieces attacking politicians, since I have made a pretty good living out of them myself. But if we ban holidays for the British Establishment, where will it end? What about restaurants? What about taxis? What about going to a film on a Saturday night? If we are not careful, a puritanical pall of disapproval will spread over the economy, vetoing consumption, nixing hope.

I am not suggesting that those in debt should add to their problems by trying to double up on their credit cards; I am thinking more of the people out there who still have dosh and choose the best credit cards. There are quite a few. There are the hedge fund boys who have made a mint by shorting the banks, and then there are all the knuckle-cracking receivers who will do well from the coming bankruptcies. There are the oilmen, still awash with profits after the recent price spikes. And then there are all the people on dependable fixed incomes such as – gnash, gnash – the BBC’s foul-mouthed multi-millionaires Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, unchastened, unpunished, still laughing themselves sick on their mountains of taxpayers’ gold. What is the point of asking such people to protect their loot? Whom does it help if they keep it in their Luxembourg bank accounts?

I read the other day that the credit crunch had affected the dress-procurement strategy of the Queen. Sensitive to the mood of her subjects, she had decided not to lash out on any new frocks, but to recycle the old ones. I read that with alarm. Who is giving her economic advice these days? Now is exactly the moment for the Queen – who has a bob or two – to buy dresses, now when the milliners and dressmakers of London could do with a right royal tonic. This is not the moment for dowdiness and self-sufficiency; this is the moment for a life-affirming splurge.

We should remember that the boom-slump cycle is a natural part of our history; indeed, it is indispensable to our psychological make-up. It is like love. It is a basically incurable condition, and we revert to it again and again. First. we conceive the passion – the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble, the dotcom or the property boom – and then we bicycle-pump our hearts with wild hormonal elation, and every time it happens we tell ourselves that this is the big one, this time it’s real, this time we have broken the paradigm; and we invest with ever more irrational exuberance, and though some people occasionally tell us that the love-object is not worth it, we don’t see it that way, of course we don’t, since our exuberance is irrational.

And then it turns out that we have been in some way deceived, and the bubble bursts, as bubbles do, and the irrational optimism gives way to a pessimism that is equally irrational, and life isn’t worth living, and nothing will ever be the same again, and we wish we could be towed out to sea and sunk with 20-inch guns.

And that, economically speaking, is where we seem to be today. It is miserable, but it is not so miserable that we have to cease all economic activity out of deference to our misery. Some people genuinely seem to think we would be better off staying at home and growing our own cabbage and baking our own bread. This is insanity. I have just brewed 24 bottles of home-made cider, and by the time I had bought the bottles and the stoppers and the yeast and the press and the alembicks, it was the most expensive cider ever made.

There is a system called capitalism, by which goods and services are allocated by markets, and under capitalism I can go to the off-licence and buy five times the cider, of vastly superior quality, for a twentieth of the price, and I can use the time and money saved to buy other things and stimulate the economy in other ways; and by the time the mistresses of the bedchamber have finished trying to make and mend her clothes, I expect you could say the same of the Queen’s dresses.

A deep recession may be upon us. But there is no need to go into mourning for capitalism, because capitalism will never go away, and there is nothing remotely impolite, in these circumstances, about spending money and being seen to spend money. Far from it.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph on 28 October 2008 under the heading: “Financial crisis: Eat, spend and be merry – this is not the end of the world.”

74 thoughts on “A Deep Recession”

  1. At last, Boris, a return to your true self. Ignorant, let-them-eat-cake, I’m-alright-Jack, never-heard-of-poor-people, vicious tory git. I would love to describe how I really feel about the rubbish you have spewed out here, but this forum is now moderated.
    Don’t worry, you shallow buffoon, the people who will lose their livelihoods and some of them their homes in the coming months due to the callousness and stupidity of your capitalist chums, are unlikely to be hard-core Tory voters, so you don’t have to worry about them do you?
    As long as the queen can afford to buy a few new frocks, things can’t be that bad, can they?

  2. Hey: glad to see you back Vicus…! Boris does take a bit of detailed reading and I think you understand ‘I am not suggesting that those in debt should add to their problems by trying to double up on their credit cards;’. Suggesting that ‘those who still have dosh’ should spend to help others stay in business is hardly unfeeling. “Stop hoarding and start helping” is a re-translation.

  3. “We should remember that the boom-slump cycle is a natural part of our history … the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble, the dotcom or the property boom …” (Boris)

    So why then do the tories then support New Labours attempts to prop up the bursting bubble?

    No sooner had Brown called an end to ‘the age of responsibility’ is he making a huge bet, on 100% leverage with borrowed money – that I will be expected to pay back through taxation after it all goes wrong – against the market!

    The market IS crashing, asset-price deflation and deleveraging ARE upon us. At the moment I still have a job, but I certainly won’t be blowing all my wages like there is no tomorrow asyou suggest Boris.

    It is a very good time to be staying in more, building a little cushion of savings, eating cheap cuts of meat and drinking budget Bulgarian wine.

    If I get made redundant I’m lucky, my folks have retired and paid off their mortgage, I rent on a short-term contract and don’t posess more belongings than I can cram into my car (which isn’t on HP) and flee to the safety of the nest while I get my hands on any sort of job I can.

    Some people (especially those that bought into the hype of the housing bubble within the last couple of years) are going to end up losing everything they have in the oncoming bust Brown promised he’d abolished.

  4. Your tone is so laughably offensive that there really isn’t anything I can say that would condemn you more strongly than your own words, here.

  5. Steve: ‘It is a very good time to be staying in more, building a little cushion of savings, eating cheap cuts of meat and drinking budget Bulgarian wine.’
    There’s some fantastic affordable wine in Eastern Europe if we can only bypass the guys who have sewn up the import trade.

    Good cheap cuts of meat have always been tastier than some of the under-aged under-prepared posh stuff – but it is all in the cooking. Cue Jamie/Raymond or anyone who would not think of putting fillet of X in a casserole.

    As for going home: is that not a blessing that crosses the economic divides? The rich have space. The very poor make space regardless. The middlers sort it all out somehow even when the parents feel just a touch aggrieved that their own hard-won gains are trashed.

  6. On the other hand some of the income from a few presenting gigs on HIGNFY would be really handy about now…

    Boris – have you ever heard of a social enterprise?

  7. My parents kind of like having me home to nagg at Gill, being retired they don’t have much else to do. They’re not rich but they’ve got a spare room now I’m not at home.

  8. “If I get made redundant”…..Steven

    If I get made redundant…Here are alternative scenarios: to stretch one’s capacity in further developing professional skills; find other alternative networks of professionals who can benefit from one’s past experiences; take an even higher risky step in search of opportunity; look for a better off partner – or simply drop dead!

    “Stop hoarding and start helping” is a re-translation”…Gill
    thanks – it was a succinct comment!

  9. “There is nothing remotely impolite, in these circumstances, about spending money and being seen to spend money. Far from it.”
    Your mate Dave seems to be a bit stuck for an economic policy. Perhaps he should use this as the basis of his next speech in the commons.
    Come on Tories – stop pussyfooting about and let the people know what you really stand for.

  10. Boris Johnson reminds us that there is one asset we all have which is nothing to do with the money in our purses, the shares in our porfolios, or the size of the credit figure in our bank accounts.

    This asset is amazingly valuable, the most valuable commodity in any market, certainly more than jewels, gold or platinum and should be spent lavishly because the more it is spent, the more it increases.

    Even if we shop unwisely, at stores named Bastards R Us, Users Inc. or Tramps plc., we have not lost the amount we have spent, because this asset renews itself automatically, and shoddy though the purchase may sometimes be, there is always a premium in return. People may laugh at you for the foolishness of the purchase. You may shop in very downmarket stores, and even buy cracked items in bargain basements marked “Seconds”, but somehow, although you think the asset wasted at the time, you always end up getting a credit in return of some type or other.

    However, it is best to shop at the highest end of the market, although items we might personally regard as expensive might be universally regarded as trashy elsewhere. The main thing is only to buy what suits you and spend to the max. because you regard it highly, even if nobody else does. It is even possible to spend masses of this item on things we will never own, like artists who delight us, other peoples’ kids, or public figures who reward us with their talent and dedication. Fools may jeer at the amount we lavish on these items, but they do not understand that the interest rate on our accounts goes up the more we spend, and massive expenditure in this financial market will never lead to bust, only boom.

  11. Am I missing something? If you have money, spend it? Is this the “trickle down effect”. I’m trying to work out how spending £150 for a portion of Gordon bloody Ramsey’s spam fritters and two grand on a Hermes hankie is going to affect me in Crewe.

    I have a new soup recite: One posh head. Bucket of water. Boil both together. Throw away. Eat bucket.

  12. A lot of the commments above seem not to have understood b Boris’s article. Surely he means that although nobody should foolishly fling cash around, if we have secure incomes but cease to spend as we normally do, this will cause suffering to thousands of people in jobs who rely on our spending? You gotta speculate to accumulate! The economy needs to keep moving, so not spending is ignoring the fate of all the people who will lose their jobs if, as Boris says, people refuse to spend and turn to self sufficiency.

    Yup, it is my patriotic duty to spend sensibly, but as normal, so my cinema trips will remain unchanged.


    It is the right decision to suspend Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, because what they did was wrong and public indignation is just too strong to be ignored. If any of us did this, it would come under the heading of gross misconduct and we would be receiving our P45’s. However, the situation of these two comedians is not the same.

    I have been a huge Russell Brand fan for years, because he is a brilliant standup comedian. To me he was brilliant, because his routine was invariably aimed at himself and the mistakes he had made in life and he did not spare himself. His disarming humour was never, ever cruel, on the contrary, his compassion and tolerance were two of his most outstanding qualities. He described himself as a silly sod from Essex, totally didn’t take himself seriously, and his quick rapier wit was never aimed at a vulnerable target, only his own flaws.

    He was a heroin addict for 11 years, but is now totally clean for 3 years and he is also teetotal. OK, he um, shares his love with an endless stream of lovely ladies and can’t form a steady relationship, but I always felt that his mother’s continual battle with cancer had made him unable to trust love or relationships, in case he was abandoned and so he was hedging his bets.

    Russell to me was someone who had turned disaster into triumph and he still deserves credit for that. He has done a lot of charity work with drug charities,(to earn good karma) he practices Buddhism, and he regularly prays and meditates.

    I stopped laughing at Jonathan Ross years ago, because he is just too cruel. It is not comedy to hurt and embarrass people, and that is all Jonathan does now. If you employed the Mirror Effect, to shame him for the way he has behaved to poor Andrew Sachs, and published Jonathan’s sex life on the air waves, you would be wasting your time, because he does that himself, every time he hits the air. It is not funny or shocking hearing what he does, just boring, although his I were his wife I would die every time I showed my face. No, to really show Jonathan Ross how hurtful he has been, (and I hope I am not being nasty in saying this) the only way would be to ring his ansaphone and tell him on air that someone he loved and cherished had slept with Russell Brand.

    When anyone has published anything humiliating about
    Jonathan, he goes mad and brandishes his lawyers, but somehow he is not bright enought to make the connection in this case.

    To me Jonathan Ross is like Tom Cruise in TOP GUN – his ego is writing cheques his body can’t cash. It is not clever or shocking to be continually filthy and any drunk in a pub can do this just as well as jonathan does. The violent public reaction is based on the arrogance he has shown for years, not just this incident, and the cruel way he treats his guests, trampling on their feelings as though he never ever has to account for what he did.

    The way he attempted to throw David Cameron off balance by asking him if he had a sexual reaction to pictures of Mrs. Thatcher wasn’t funny at all, and it fell flat because Dave maintained his usual impeturbable demeanour and didn’t even complain. It was also out of order what he said to Nicole Kidman which I had better not repeat here. Hurting and embarrassing are what Jonathan now thinks is comedy, but he can’t seem to take a joke when his sensitive spots are skewered.

    Russell Brand’s humour has taken a similiar turn for the worse and he has lost the humility that was inititally so endearing. He received a shock when he was vilified for ringing a rape crisis centre as a “prank”. That was a karmic warning. When he was in the US and his film contracts kept on coming, he said presciently “I keep feeling that everything is going so well for me that I have to destroy it all, because really I am just not worth anything”.

    Russell, you are getting into bad company and going down a long dark road. You fought your destructive streak and won. You pulled yourself back before with superhuman courage. Don’t let that destructive streak make you blow it all again.

  14. Spend, spend and spend? Well, the last week saw three people arrested for shoplifting in one supermarket in city centre alone. Two men and one woman, all respected looking citizens – taking whole roast chickens, food items… Very sad really.

    Staying in more rather than going out and make your own entertainment to save money? And get pregnant accidently? No, thanks. Not that I don’t like sex. You know, Mothercare has just reported a rise in maternity stuff sales.

    Struggling white people need more help or Britain will face a rise in race hate, the Equality Chief warned yesterday. Brits who lose their jobs could become resentful of immigrants who are still employed. Equality and Human Rights Commission boss Trevor Phillips said yesterday to a Migration Summit : ” In most parts of this country, the disadvantaged won’t be black or brown, they will be white. ”

    John Lewis, among other shops, has just reported a very poor sales period the last tree months. People still go out, mainly window-shopping. Boris seems to be living in his own world.

  15. A whole roast chicken? No wonder they got nicked! Why not take something smaller, like a 2 roast chicken drumsticks pack or a 2 roast chicken thighs pack or a chicken mushroom pie-slice … you know – something smaller so it could be stuffed straight into your jeans’ front pocket ? Not that I have done this before, mind !

    Anyway, you can blame Labour for all this misery.

  16. Russell Brand has resigned from his radio show on BBC2. He said he did it to make people be happy and he is making people sad and miserable, so it is better to quit it.

  17. “………. I am thinking more of the people out there who still have dosh. There are quite a few. There are the hedge fund boys who have made a mint by shorting the banks, and then there are all the knuckle-cracking receivers who will do well from the coming bankruptcies. There are the oilmen, still awash with profits after the recent price spikes. And then there are all the people on dependable fixed incomes such as – gnash, gnash – the BBC’s foul-mouthed multi-millionaires Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, unchastened, unpunished, still laughing themselves sick on their mountains of taxpayers’ gold. What is the point of asking such people to protect their loot? Whom does it help if they keep it in their Luxembourg bank accounts?”

    Well Said!

    I believe these people as you mentioned in the above quote are hugely benefited from this recession. The stock market crashed. They can make even more money by scaring people getting out it then buying in all the overly devalued stocks themselves making a larger fortune later. And there will be the deflation period coming up soon because another bubble called credit card / consumer goods pricing bubble yet to burst. So everything will be cheap including housing. These rich people with all those cash can enjoy all of that. These rich people will become much richer still and the poor poorer, poorer, and still poorer.

    Middle class is shrinking. Revolution and war will come. Expect the worst then A Deep Recession, Boris. Capitalism is a double edged sword. In compare with war and revolution, deep recession seems much more fun.

  18. “…..Mr Bean, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, has informed us that this could be the worst financial crisis in history, I am afraid I want to thrash my FT on the table and shout, Whoa! Come off it, folks! This isn’t the Black Death. Pinch yourself. Are you still there? Got a pulse? Thought so. Look out of the window. Those aren’t zombies. They are men and women engaged in the normal business of getting and spending.”

    Boris, Mr Bean, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, is so scared and out to scare others not for no reasons. Nouriel Roubini called THEM – the banks (quite few of them) that had made this recession happened Zoombie Banks.


  19. Boris-Now is the time for Nation Building,London needs affordable tourist accommodation,affordable accommodation for students/local /overseas.
    There is a reason the preferred developer cannot fund these planned luxury flats for the Olympic Village,they wee need buyers in the 500,000 pound+range per tiny flat.
    Lets have some innovation and combine the use after the Games for this market,which you are sitting on funds for?

  20. Hey Boris,now the ODA have decided to go for a wind turbine at the Olympic site the next step is to create a powerful symbol of green future with our http://www.windesal.com
    We can do up to 20GL per system per annum from ground water or even the Thames to fresh drinking water.
    So imagine no plastic bottles at the Games,free water for all,we can then power up the venues/village with our surplus green energy.
    Think about us as kind of insurance if the drought returns to London during the Olympic year it could be tad embarrassing with massive water restrictions.
    London has limited water storage in the near future,so if you get good rain most goes out to sea.

  21. In THE 33 STRATEGIES OF WAR, by Robert Greene, the 33rd strategy is THE CHAIN REACTION STRATEGY.

    It is described thus. “Terror is the ultimate way to paralyse people’s will to resist and destroy their ability to plan a strategic response. The goal in the terror campaign is not battlefield victory but causing maximum chaos and provoking the other side into desperate overreaction.

    To plot the most effective counter strategy, the victim(s) must stay balanced. One’s rationality is the last line of defence.”

    If we are all panicked and terrifed, Gordon Brown figures we will lose our heads and think we desperately need him, while really he is partly the cause of the problem. His profligacy and indecision has vastly worsened the world situation. Ruling by fear is the resort of a dictator, seeking to paralyse the will of the people.

    We should applaud the voices of reason such as Boris’s, who solidly refuse to be pushed off balance.

    “In general, the most effective response to unconventional provocation is the least response. Do as little as possible and that cunningly adjusted to the arena. Do no harm, ….. do less rather than more. Dragonwars, J. Bowyer Bell, 1999.

  22. I do not understand the defence that Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are not at all to blame because the BBC knows the type of humour they are known for. It is known they are known for outrageous, scatlogical humour, but are the people who employ this defence saying there should be no limit to what Ross and Brand are allowed to say or do?

    That means they could ring people up as a prank and say their kids have been abducted by paedophiles, or tell someone their beloved wife has been killed in a car crash for a joke. There has to be a limit somewhere, but the initial patronising insulting attitutudes of the two comedians imply they think they can say anything and anyone who doesn’t understand isn’t cool. The arrogant tardiness of the BBC to take action gives the same impression.

    Jonathan Ross is the BBC’s most highly paid presenter and possibly this is why the public are so angry at his arrogance in thinking he was totally above any semblance of decency or kindness to another human being. He has got away with cruelty and arrogance for far too long, and sadly Russell, who impressed inititally with his dislike of hurting others in his routines, has fallen into the same trap.

    As a huge fan of anarchic comedians, who worships Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, and others, may I make the point that it is possible to be absolutely hilarious without ever being cruel or even unkind, but this obviously takes far more brains that Jonathan Ross has got.

  23. Barrie: I see on another article thread (Are we on the verge of a recession) you suggested Boris should set up a weekly bright-ideas competition. What would you like to see? How would it be judged? Immediate contribution to London/theGLA/”the economy” or simply kickstarting businesses by anyone of any age? Would you put a cap on the size of the project to stop the mega-corporations competing against the individual? Would you give equal credit to money-saving or social-care ideas as to money-generating ones?

  24. Angela, why are busy defending Ross and Russell – 2 over hyped, over paid, ageing, trying to be young and trendy again has-beens? The over paid, ageing, trying to young and trendy again BBC bosses are also equally embarassing. Teenagers watch their shows and grow up like them: self-made mental airheads !

    A £18Million/ 3 year ( or £16,000 per day ! ) contract for Ross ? They must be joking. Even Ross doesn’t think his ” talent ” is worth that much and be laughing behind his closed door.

    It was so humiliating and embarassing to see Russell being put in his place by Britney Spears on US television.

    Celebrities do have their sell-by-dates.

  25. Like that bloke Chris Who? ( who was once married to Billie ) he was very popular then and became so big headed he was sacked by Richard Branson. Ha ha ha ha !!! Nobody is above the law or untouchable.

  26. Lesbey-Anne, you must have misread my posts if you think i am defending Ross and Brand. I have said it is totally the right thing that they were suspended and i am glad Russell Brand has done the decent thing and resigned, taking full responsibility. If I had my way, Jonathan Ross should have resigned as well and I hope they sack him.

    I am merely saying the position of the two comedians is not the same. Russell Brand has had a very traumatic childhood – his dad left his mum when Russsell was only 6 months old and his poor mum has fought off cancer three times. Russell had a tough adolescence, and was a heroin addict for eleven years. I was just making the point that the fact he has turned his life around is to be commended, he has been clean since 2003, and is a teetotaller, and he is the president of a charity that helps drug addicts.

    To me, Russell is far more talented than Jonathan Ross, and I was merely pointing out that this could be another example of Russell’s self destructive streak. In his youth, he did a lot of self harming (slashing his arms and legs) and continually pushes the barriers the more successful he becomes, as though he wants to trash it all. His compulsive womanising is another example of his massive insecurity.

    An article in today’s Standard http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23580076-details/How+Russell+Brand+is+flirting+with+his+old+enemy,+self-harm/article.do
    says the same thing I said before, that Russell has a self destructive streak.

    The article also says that Russell was led on by Jonathan, and I agree with this as well.

    I am not making excuses for Russell, but I do feel sorry for anyone who has suffered as badly as he has in his life. Jonathan Ross is an overpaid, egocentric oaf, with a potty mouth and no brains. I feel not an ounce of sympathy for him and I intend never to watch anything he is hosting or appearing on ever again.

    ps. Apparently he has just been suspended for three months and that is his punishment. NOT HARSH ENOUGH.

  27. Saw Boris on television opening the new shopping mall in West London, with Stuart Rose of M. and S. We shouldn’t panic as already said above, but keep our cool and spend sensibly as before.

  28. One good thing about the so called credit crunch – it is reducing the amount of alcohol that people are drinking. Sales of booze are down, and I am sorry, I don’t want people in the brewery industry to be out of pocket or lose their jobs, but I can’t help thinking this is a very good thing.

  29. We do have a frightfully excellent selection of vintage wines in our manor’s cellar. We do not think this ghastly recession or credit crunch is affecting us in any ways. We do drink as normal; vintage wines of course.

  30. Spending on – yet more – credit is what Gordon Brown seems to want us to do in order to get us out of this fix.

    Credit is the problem don’t you agree, Boris ? It can’t be the cure, surely ? Oh. I geddit. When you mentioned spending you were talking about those with LOTS of dosh – those who aren’t really affected by the general malaise at the moment anyway. Well I don’t think they’ll be stopping their spending but I DO know people who will because they are in the throes of losing everything and facing a bleak life hocked up for thirty years with little to show for it.

    By the way. Could you please tell Gordon to stop prattling on about a ‘New World Order’ – it’s rather unnerving and I was quite happy with Britain’s position in the OLD World Order circa 1997.

  31. Gill-not charity,but a panel employed to select to say a angel fund Ideas in say the 50,000- 100,000 pounds per applicant in investment phase,do 30 of these a week over next few years, expect the recession you have to have will be deep and that long.
    Criteria London Design/innovation/product development/scalable inventions what ever, on the basis that within 1yr these applicants could employ say 5-10 people.
    Then set up a retail incubator for young people in the crafts,based on excellence,expect such a project would become a major tourist attraction in London.

    Create London as a design centre of the world-try a new Angle instead offices/banks paying massive salary for these idiots to loose billions of pounds.

    Then maybe turn the coming massive amounts of surplus office space into affordable hotels/student accommodation.
    Drive affordable tourism to London-its an exciting city-create a new focus around the Arts,the foundations are there.

  32. Estella de Versace, drinking vintage wines in moderation must come under the heading of your patriotic duty.

  33. George Osborne was in full cry as he attacked Labour’s borrowing plans, calling them “weak” and “irresponsible”.

    You only had to look at Gordon’s shifty expression when questioned on SKY t.v. to see how true this is. Weak, shifty and irresponsible doesn’t begin to cover it.

  34. A Daily Telegraph poll shows the Tories on 42%, Labour on 33% and the Lib-Dems on 15%. The huge Tory lead has shrunk because some people have fallen for Gordon’s rap that he is the man to handle the economy.

    Anyone who votes Labour in the Glenrothes by-election will be aiming a gun at the heart of Britain, there is no getting away from their disastrous record of the past 10 years and there is no getting away from the fact that some countries such as Canada didn’t even need a bailout. Gordon’s spending now is only to ingratiate himself with the public like some oily, ever so humble Uriah Heep, but we are too proud and too clear headed to forget his shameful record and we don’t want his ruddy bribes. He can stick them where the sun don’t shine.

    Does he really think that giving up tax on Simon Cowell’s “Heros” CD will make up for how he has treated our
    armed forces and how he has shamelessly favoured Scotland over the rest of Britain? Does he really think that we have not worked out that if the Labour party had not spent billions by dragging us into a disastrous war, so that Tony Blair could prance around like the second coming,thinking himself a world saviour, we would have a lot more money to deal with the present crisis which is only partly world wide? The rest is down to Gordon’s ghastly mismanagement.

    Money that is borrowed eventually will have to be paid back in the form of higher taxes, and don’t think we wouldn’t be massively clobbered with tax increases, if ever Gordon’s Scots bum managed to plonk itself back into No.10. If he doesn’t get back, it will STILL mean bigger tax increases, and will be passing on the burden for years to the next generation. As George says, Gordon is aiming a Cruise missile at the heart of the economy.

    Now Gordon is trying to fool us he is above partisanship, the most partisan, bitter, backstabbing, scheming PM to ever disgrace this country! As William Hague wittily remarked, he has built a Cabinet in his own image, and just a few weeks ago they were all busily plotting to get rid of him!DO YOU THINK WE ARE FOOLS GORDON BROWN? DO YOU REALLY THINK WE DO NOT REMEMBER THESE THINGS?

  35. I just don’t know how people fall for it. The country has deteriorated so badly under the present Labour government, that it is impossible to believe that anyone wants Labour to continue any longer.

  36. If Gordon Brown is right, and we are better equipped than many other countries to deal with the recession, isn’t it worrying him that the pound is sinking like a stone?

  37. Boris’s proactive attitude in forming the War Council, a cross party group to lobby the Government for assistance in London’s problems in the economic crisis is commmendable. However, why do I think he would have more success if he dressed them all up in kilts and tam o’shanters and got them singing “My heart’s in the heather….”

  38. And never mind George.

    “You’ve just seen what you have to become to beat them.”

    Batman, THE DARK KNIGHT.

  39. “Comment by Estella De Versace on October 30, 2008 @ 7:46 pm
    “We do have a frightfully excellent selection of vintage wines in our manor’s cellar.”

    Just show me your cella’…Estella!


    SAS Commander Major Sebastian Morley has resigned in disgust, devastated by the needless deaths of four of his soldiers in Afghanistan. (Three men and one woman died). The cause of their deaths was the vulnerability of the Snatch Land Rover to land mines. There have been endless complaints about this type of Land Rover from the officers commanding men who have to use them,the cause of course being chronic underinvestment in the proper equipment for our troops. The Snatch is knicknamed the coffin.

    If our soldiers do not have the correct equipment to safeguard their lives, as David Cameron has continually pointed out, they should not be sent to fight, and it is as simple as that.

    And yet Gordon Brown has spent nearly £400M on advertising, PR, and Spin Doctors to keep his Scots bum in Downing Street. When asked if he was being paid for returning to spin his black arts, Alastair Campbell replied evasively “Not as far as I know!” HOW CAN YOU SLEEP GORDON?

  41. I am listening to Gordon Brown at the moment, saying how concerned he is about Rwanda and we should send troops there. But when David Cameron went to that country, and was absolutely vilified for doing so, I never heard Gordon squeak a word in his support.

    Our troops are already overstretched in Afghanistan, but if Gordon wants to look like a World Peacemaker and Move and Shaker, he thinks let them lay down their lives elsewhere as well, let their blood stain a foreign soil and let them die far from home. Will he reduce his budget for his own self promotion by one penny? WILL HE HELL!!!!!

    If Gordon Brown HAD been born in the 19th century, not only would he be the most dishonoured commander in British military history, he would also be the first to be shot in the back by his own troops.

  42. There have been harsh words against short sellers in the press, but we need to remember they are taking a huge risk as well as making huge gains, and it doesn’t always pan out. Recently wealthy hedge fund bosses were left devastated after losing almost £13 billion in 48 hours.

    A plan to cash in by short selling Volkswagen shares backfired because the giant car firm Porsche had been secretly buying a 74% share in Volkswagen.

    The huge clandestine buy up meant that the gamble of the short selling hedge fund bosses that VW shares would plunge, failed catastrophically.

    Instead of falling, the shares soared by 400% in two days – forced up by Porsche’s shock revelation of its secret holding. Hedge funds around the world, including some in the UK, suffered combined losses of some £12.6 BILLION.

    Some managers were in tears when they realised the scale of their losses.

    Short selling = RISKY BUSINESS.

  43. Ol’ Tom the Gardener,
    Certainly. And… what else would you like me to show you once we are down in my cellar ? ( giggle, giggle )

  44. Workers will be warned today ( 31/10/08 ) to brace themselves for an ‘ avalanche ‘ of redundancies. A quarter of bosses said they would be forced to to axe workers over the next year to survive the recession. Those aged over 50 or approaching retirement face the biggest risk of being handed their P45, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

    The study found that many bosses have been desperately trying to avoid getting rid of staff. At an average cost of more than £10,000 per person, redundancy is expensive – particularly if the downturn is short-lived and companies need to recruit again within months.

    Dr John Philpott, the Institute’s chief economist, forecast that the number of people who are unemployed will jump from 1.8million to 2.5million by next Easter. However, he said that this number was ‘ optimistic ‘ – whatever he meant.

    Sounds very awfully depressing, does it not ? I thought Brown, Darling and Co. had claimed they had already fixed it. What a ghastly lot they are, are they not ?

  45. Ghastly indeed. Gordon is on a huge spending spree at our expense, and b…. the cost. Live now, pay later is his creed! He is like the lottery millionaires, Spend, Spend, Spend! Alastair Darling just tags along like a nodding dog and Harriet Harman and the Miliband Duo are Gordon’s groupies. From his rival, David Miliband has suddenly morphed into Gordon’s biggest fan! What a group of sickos!

  46. A video of an Iraq veteran blasting Obama for calling the war a ‘ mistake ‘ has been watched by more than 11 MILLION people- handling a huge boost to McCain. In the YouTube clip, titled DEAR. MR. OBAMA , ex-soldier Joe Cook faces the camera pretending to address the Democrat hopeful.

    He says on the website: ‘ I witnessed first-hand the many sacrifices made. Those sacrifices were not mistakes. When you call the Iraqi war a mistake, you disrespect the service and the sacrifices of everyone who has died promoting freedom. ‘

    Announcing his support for McCain, Joe adds: ‘ Freedom carries a price ‘ – then walks away on a false leg to reveal he lost his limb in service.

    the two minute film was made without the backing or funding of McCain’s campaign. Joe, 23, said: ‘ McCain is a leader. I can really respect him. ‘

    Obama spent nearly £2.5 Million ( Oprah’s? ) on a 30-minute prime-time ad on US TV networks on Wednesday.

    Have any of you seen the photos of McCain taken when he was a POW in Vietnam? Oh, he looked so hot; just like how a typical hero should look.

    ( Tom, you could come and help me tend my over-grown garden. Together we could rewrite ‘ Lady Chatterley’s Lover. ‘. Please don’t mind me backing Sen. McCain. Yes? )

  47. When Boris humorously describes his attempts to make cider and warns us of the difficulties of self sufficiency, the hard truth is he is absolutely right.

    We may cherish rosy dreams of a Jane Austen existence – sewing our own dresses, embroidering blouses and samplers, knitting exquisite jackets in a couple of days, but the truth is, these items take a huge amount of skill unless you want to look like an absolutely scarecrow. They also take time. It takes about a month to knit a cardigan, and that means knitting in the day, not just evenings, and you need to know how to assemble the pieces and stitch them together professionally.

    The Sunday Telegraph printed and costed a pattern for knitting a scarf. With the equipment, this came to over £25 and I should say this was the minimum you could make a decent scarf for. The cost of wool, since the hey days of the ’80’s and ’90’s has tripled, it now costs as much to knit a cardigan as a cheap Citibreak.

    And that is only the beginning. What if you aren’t a very good knitter, or don’t like the end result – the money has just gone down the drain.

    We all have dreams to buying a cheap length of fabric and whipping up an adorable tailored shift for a fraction of the cost in the shops…. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Good tailoring takes a lot of talent and skill to execute and first you have to buy your sewing machine, and learn how to use it, and the minimum that will cost is about £100 for a basic model.

    If you have the time, and a creative streak that you are burning to fulfill, and also if you have plenty of cash to buy the best materials – who wants to labout for weeks over horrible acrylic – knitting and sewing are absolutely fantastic. Needlepoint also is soul enhancing and addictive and one of the most enjoyable pursuits known to man.

    But as cheap options, FORGET ABOUT IT.

    ps. If you already have a sewing machine, it is great to use it for repairs and you will save money that way. Taking up hems, making things smaller, are all a cinch if you know how to operate the machine. But this is not a recessionary measure, it makes sense to do this even if you are absolutely flush with cash.

    pps. And anyone who can’t sew on a button, or put in a zip, it is very much worth learning these basic skills and they should still be taught in schools, as should basic sewing and knitting.

  48. “Not since Earl Haig, we gathered, had there been such blithering myopia about the impending slaughter.”

    Could some kind soul explain Boris’s above reference to Earl Haigh, as I like to understand historical references?

    I have googled Earl Haigh, but still don’t understand.

  49. Hi there Tom,

    I’m interested in gardening, too. I’ve just moved back to the old Blighty all the way from Brussels. Perhaps you would kindly show me how you make your cucumber grow so big?


  50. John McCain ? Oooh, he looks gorgeous. He’s a hunk. I mean, never in my life would I judge a man by his appearance, but weedy, skinny and lanky men like Obama really do turn me off. No offence, but maybe Obama should swap his body with Oprah.

    John McCain looks so manly, chunky and sturdy with broad shoulders. And look at his chiseled jaw. What a hunk, just like Boris. Oooh, I’m feeling hot and heady already…

  51. I like the way Obama looks, intelligent, subtle, sensitive, and i don’t mind that he is skinny either. He looks like a gangly, kindly college professor, slightly geeky but brillliant.

    Do you really prefer the Arnie type, the muscle bound dope, with absolutely nothing between his ears? He has a nerve criticising Obama’s legs. Trust Arnie to think the only thing that matters is the size of his pecs and calves.

    John McCain was very good looking when he was young, but ladies, that was then, this is now! One newspaper described him as looking like an antiquated jelly baby, and that just about covers it.

    On a personal level, I too prefer chunky, solid men, but for President, Obama will do just fine.

  52. http://www.oddschecker.com/specials/politics-and-election/glenrothes-by-election/win-market

    Above you can check the betting on the Glenrothes by-election, which I lok at daily with bated breath. As one pundit said, if Gordon wins, he will have achieved the momentum convincingly. If the SNP wins, we will know that the newspapers have exaggerated Gordon’s fightback and the Tories still have it.

    DAVID cAMERON, you are a fighter and you know how to grab the initiative. You have done it before, and I believe you will do it again. Hard though it has been, you have stood back and let Gordon have his economic moment for the good of the country, but if I know anything of your strategy, you are planning a huge counter-offensive after Glenrothes. You are merely employing Wellington’s reverse slope technique; your forces are marshalled safely below the brow of a hill, to avoid enemy fire. With supreme psychological astuteness, and your famed cool, you are awaiting your moment to signal them to spring up and deliver the coup de grace.

    The Old Labour Guard will fall, to cries of “Nous sommes trahies!” and their discredited Commander in Chief will slink off sulking back to the heather, to cries of “Gordon, where’s ye trousers!”

    At one time, Gordon was nearly neck and neck, but Alec Salmond is pulling away slightly, COME ON THE SNP!

    You will also see from Oddschecker that Boris Johnson is odds on favourite to win the next London Mayor’s election. WHO ELSE IS THERE?

  53. Excuse me, Angela. But were you implying that Boris looked like an antiquated jelly baby, too?

    Over-muscled men are a real turn-off; nothing up there and nothing down there either.

  54. Hi Edwina, how did you work that one out? John McCain doesn’t look like Boris, nor is he really chunky or sturdy, is he? He is a great guy, a war hero, and deserves huge respect for that. But he does look frail and like he might not last one term, and that has to be a huge worry when his VP is Sarah Palin.

  55. Someone should point out to Arnie, better skinny legs than a tiny intellect, and if Arnie ever tried to blow his brains out, with that pea brain, he’d have to be a ruddy good shot! (JOKE).

  56. Acording to Oddschecker, the odds are shortening on the SDP winning Glenrothes. It’s still very close though……. This is definitely a turning point….

  57. In view of the way Gordon Brown has blatantly favoured the Scots regarding prescription charges, care of the elderly, etc., it would have been churlish for the people of Glenrothes not to vote for him. It was obviously pay back time by the Scots for Gordon’s continued unfairness to the English and Welsh and who can blame the Scots for returning Gordon’s huge favour when they must fear they would lose those advantages if the Tories came to power?

    People are terrified of what is happening in the economy, and if they have any financial advantages, they are hanging on to them.

    Also, the timely interest rate cut, obviously staged by Gordon to boost his election chances, probably didn’t hurt.

    It will be a different matter in the general election.

  58. Also, it is unfair for pundits to blame David Cameron for failing to come up with other solutions to our economic problems, when there probably aren’t any, except for what he has suggested already.

    Unlike Gordon, DC has always been honest when talking about the economic situation. He and George Osborne clearly laid out the situation at the Tory conference, and whereas some government expenditure is necessary to keep the economy moving, certainly not to the extent envisaged by Gordon, who is just sucking up the country to save his own hide.

    The credit crunch has played into Gordon’s hands and he is now in the driving seat, with the country at his mercy. The IMF says that Britain is spiralling into the deepest recession of any leading nation. Gordon has made huge mistakes, but he thinks that if he spends now and murmurs sympathetically about “helping people through these hard times” we will fall for it and see him as our saviour. WE WON’T.

    Boris had the right idea, cutting transport projects ruthlessly, and doing all he can to save money. Gordon should be doing the same.


  59. Let Gordon enjoy his mini bounce…. he has had a rough time lately, and we Tories are not mean at heart. We know that David Cameron will win the next election, for the same reason that so many people complained vociferously about the Ross/Brand prank.

    It wasn’t just the prank people were objecting to so violently, it was the low standards submitted on a daily basis by the BBC. The country is sick of having to put up with third rate standards of decency and we are also sick of third rate standards of government.

    We hve not forgotten the lies and dodgy dossiers we were forced to accept over the Iraq war. We can clearly see the damage done by that war, to millions. We have not forgotten the shabby treatment dished out to our armed forces and the Iraqis who helped them. We have not forgotten the way Labour have indiscriminately handled immigration, overloading our social services and we have not forgotten the way they let crime get totally out of hand. Rather than allow foster parents who smoke to adopt kids who desperately need love, these kids are left to shrivel emotionally in care. White foster parents are not allowed to bring up kids of a different colour. Political correctness disparages and patronises women, and chokes even the simplest action with red tape. Our councils are turning our kids into spies and are spies on our freedom themselves. In fact our civil liberties are totally eroding, and we have had enough. We say no more, and there is no way Labour will ever win another election for many decades and I believe that from the bottom of my heart, because the people of this country deserve better.

    David Cameron, William Hague, George Osborne (however much they seek to undermine him) and Boris Johnson are exceptionally able and it is about time we had exceptional people running this country.

  60. And Gordon, don’t try the politics of fear on the people of this country. They fell for it in Glenrothes, but we see through you.

  61. I agree, there is not much significance in Labour winning Glenrothes. They were bound to win ONE Scottish by-election, and Gordon and his wife had to beg and plead to swing it their way anyway. if he feels happy for a bit, that’s OK by me too.

  62. If Gordon feels the need to recall and lean on two men like Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, he must be at a very low ebb. But he doesn’t have the strength and decisiveness necessary to be a good leader and that has been the problem all along.

  63. Anyone daft enough to have a go at George Osborne for this is totally out to lunch. How is it his fault? I like George, he has the gift of clarity without being patronising.

  64. We need protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation, not just terrorism!

    I cannot watch England cricket or football because some rich bloke has been allowed to stop me from doing so unless I pay him for the privilege.

    I cannot heat my home because the government is helping foreign companies to abuse an essential commodity for living.

    I have no choice where I buy my groceries because the government has encouraged Tesco to restrict my choice.

    My mortgage interest has not been lowered although the base rate has been reduced by 2% because the government is in awe of the bankers. “what can I do”, says the chancellor.

    I have worked for the past 33 years and have been made redundant 4 times because the directors of the companies have been, either totally incompetent, or greedy and selfish. 1 of these directors managed to shut down a company within 3 years of taking over. The company had been trading since 1844!! 2000 people lost their jobs and nothing happened to the ar….le! Why?

    Where ever I look I see exploitation. Especially where consumers do not have a choice. Electricity, Gas, Petrol, Mortgages, Public transport, hospitals, TV, etc… in fact, I cannot think of any essential commodity that is not exploited by some big company. And with collusion by the government.

    If something is wrong, stop it! Don’t find reasons not stop it.

    thank you for the chance to air my grievances

  65. Roha you have your vote. And you can write in and complain, some bodies have formal complaints procedures. If enough people complain, people have to take notice, for example, the BBC recently. You can air your views on websites such as this. I know it’s not much, certainly not enough to sort out the things you are talking about but it is a start.

  66. Okay, OBVIOUSLY Boris didn’t say ‘go out and spend your money so the Queen can buy dresses’, he said if you can afford it, don’t start hoarding all your money because the news tells you to. If the people who can actually afford to spend STOP spending, then the economy is going to get nowhere. I’m 16 and I worked that out. Love you Boris 😉

  67. I will taking Boris advise quite soon,just waiting for the car/boat lots to fill with more toys from the Hedge Fund guys walking the streets expect to by a low mileage Aston Martin ,garage/maintained at the past employers expense.
    Expect soon the receiver no reserve auctions then go to market ,hey might even buy a as new yacht as well.

  68. can boris let me know what his plans are for taking over the conservative party and ultimately the government of the uk?, as i’m in Dubai and i want to make plans to return to our shore’s(i have also heard he makes exceedingly good chutney!).on the recession,we went through it in the eighties. so keep spending (with moderation).keep any debt to the minimum, and dont believe everything you are told by men with surnames starting with a B !.
    look forward to seeing BJ as PM !.

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