Sunday, October 05, 2008

Aaro Prediction Thread

We haven't had a prediction thread for a bit. What will our Dave write about on Tuesday?

Well, there's Mandelson. Aaro is still a Blairite, and Mandy's return is almost universally unpopular, so there's an opening for a "maverick" column. Dave's colleague Oliver Kamm got the sensible points in ("Mandelson would have provided ballast and intellectual direction for the Government had it not been for his second - in my view, harsh - resignation.") while former colleague Martin Kettle pretty much defies description. He compares Mandelson to Rommel (and this is good?) and after months of slagging off Brown he's suddenly privy to Gordon Brown's most private thoughts and has a freshly burnished crystal ball: "Mandelson will not have been brought back primarily to head a department. He will be there as the senior political counsellor in the cabinet." Never mind that this, if true, would raise issues of ministerial responsibility (isn't that the deputy leader's job? and isn't being a minister a full-time occupation?) Odds: evens. Guaranteed to generate comments. Everyone has an opinion on this. Most of them likely to be censored by comment moderators.

And there's the Blair resignation. This is perhaps closer to home for Dave. He's not really much of a Parliament watcher, but, while I'm not a big fan of instincts, he is instinctively decent on issues of social fairness: he generally judges racism and sexism issues rightly, and policing is certainly in the sort of sociological beat he does best. His opinions here would be harder to call. Oliver Kamm doesn't bother to hide his pleasure (he never does) while Kettle, well, can I say "boils over"? OK, I can't, but this is exactly wrong: "But it had become untenable not because he was wrong but..." No, it became untenable because he was wrong. Odds 8-1. Blair is really hard to defend, but any column-length whoopee must credit Boris. Hard to see that one pleasing our boy.

Banks, etc. Hmm. Don't blame the Yanks, they're collapsing in Iceland (oh noes! what will the proles eat now? takeaways?), Germany, France (take zat! you surrender monkeys!). Not very likely. The Nick Cohen/Sarah Palin line "Evil Greedy Bankers are Evil and Greedy bastards" isn't really a goer: no one works in the City for artistic reasons or to help the less fortunate. Bankers have always been greedy. We have to look elsewhere for causes. Odds: 15-1. Aaro owns a house in Hamstead. How much virtual money has he lost?

Sarah Palin. If everything else seems done to death, at least Palin is all over YouTube. I suspect that along with Daniel Finkelstein and Harry's Place, Dave's instincts are for Obama. Despite stories of Mrs Palin meeting the Dirty Digger, the Murdoch Empire's most famous creation has come out for the Democratic candidate (and satirizes the 2000 election). Odds: 50-1. Who wants a Brit commenting on this from London anyway? The Times has Andrew Sullivan for this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My money is on the Blair resignation. I reckon Dave is a supporter and will have a go (not unreasonably) at Boris and the Daily Mail and also have a sideswipe (less reasonably) at those who criticise him over the killing of De Menezes.

10/06/2008 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

6/4 bar those?

10/06/2008 07:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that along with Daniel Finkelstein and Harry's Place, Dave's instincts are for Obama.

A while back, HP Sauce had a thread where they linked to an American website which gave you a choice of 2 statements on a number of issues, without telling you whether they were made by Obama or McCain. Unsurprisingly, most of the HP editors came out for Obama in everything other than foreign policy (mind you, since that is TGISOOT surely it trumps everything else?), but the vast majority of commenters came out strongly for McCain in almost every category...

any column-length whoopee must credit Boris

yeah - the only way to get around that is to (rightly, i think) deplore the way the job had been politicised. But Boris wasn't the first... I think Aaro will go for (ie probably praise) the Mandelson decision. Could tie it in with the banks stuff and the Tory conference (that was last week, right?), which was pissweak on the economy.

10/06/2008 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cheeseboard - but DA doesn't do economics very well (though it won't stop him trying)


10/06/2008 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Oh well, it's I can't see a future for these prophets of doom. It's mostly the economy, but I claim near-misses for the following paragraph:

But now? Sarah Palin? It never occurred to me that John McCain would so contaminate his brand of pragmatic conservatism as to run with a tyro far-right ignoramus, however complementary her demographic. Peter Mandelson back in the Cabinet? I didn't see that one coming. I am not so useless that I can't predict that, other things being equal, Obama and Cameron will shake hands at the London Olympics of 2012, yet I do wonder whether other things will ever be equal again.

10/06/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

oh good God, check out Harry's Place - apparently the Palestinians were responsible for the Bologna station bombing in 1985!

10/07/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Can we have a swear box, where instead of swearing it's "inviting people to see what HP have just done"?

10/07/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

by the way, 1985, what the fuck am I talking about? 1980.

10/07/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger AndyB said...

God, why do I keep going back to HP?

Incidentally, given that they are pretty worked up about long dead Italian government connections with Palestinian terrorists, has HP run a condemnathon to denounce the current and live Italian government connections with fascists, whether the provocateurs and police brutality that attends anti-globalisation protests, or the blind eye turned to the neo-fascist gangs that have been smashing and burning gypsy and Romanian communities?

It is a genuine question, not, yet, an accusation that HP are the one-eyed, rather more literate brothers of Little Green Footballs.

10/07/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Hahaha, apparently I've "gained a reputation for being sneering and smug". Which may be true, but David T is perhaps not in a wonderful position to comment.

10/07/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That thread sums up everything that's wrong about HP Sauce which is, to all intents and purposes now, a place where a load of uninformed middle-aged men can post things they've just discovered as 'news', whether or not they are in fact well-known, or reliable, then wank on about them as if they're the key to all mythologies, simultaneiously refusing to accept that anyone might be better-informed.

Oh and David T is deleting comments on that thread. specfically, ones which ask whether, in light of his opposition to people who are 'sneering and smug', he's posted any pieces which respectively sneer at shami chakrabati while telling her to 'fuck off', or which praise a certain David T for eating at Nando's.

10/07/2008 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty feeble stuff from Aaro as per usual.

Just because he was too economically illiterate to foresee the financial implosion we are currently witnessing it doesn’t mean that plenty of others didn’t.

On my desk I notice a well-eared copy of Ann Pettifor’s Real World Economic Outlook from the mists of 2003. In it Ann notes:

We are particularly dismayed because consumers in all parts of the world, have obliged central bankers by joining the money merry-go-round, borrowing heavily and then propping up economies with their spending. When the music stops, these consumers will be heavily indebted and badly hurt.

Independent central bankers, supported by finance ministers and governments, have acted recklessly and abdicated their role as guardians of the credit and financial system. The consequences for the global economy are grave: an enormous increase or ‘bubble’ in the stock of financial assets in relation to the ‘real’ economy, as measured by GDP or the stock of physical, human and technological capital.

…There will be a further collapse in the credit system in the rich world led by the United States, leading to soaring personal and corporate bankruptcies.

You could read this sort of stuff in many other left flavoured critiques produced by people like Larry Elliot.

But I guess if you have jettisoned all your youthful leftist convictions, and have essentially become a courtier to the powerful, it is no surprising that you find yourself swept along by their talk of globalisation, weightless knowledge economies, and the abolition of economic cycles.

10/07/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the DC under Moro operated an effective non-aggression pact with the PLO. Yes, the BR and other armed struggle groups worked with the PLO and in particular the PFLP. All this is known and has been for years (hence the lack of headlines).

On the other hand, no, nobody (to my knowledge) has ever suggested that Bologna was either a Palestinian 'work accident' or a Mossad plot - or anything other than part of the strategy of tension (neo-fascist department). And no, Moro's letters from the 'people's prison' don't contain either of those quotations - although looking at English versions translated from Hebrew it's hard to be certain; I suppose they could just be really bad misreadings. He does refer repeatedly to the Palestinians, but in the context of prisoner exchanges. As in, "You can save my life by negotiating with these terrorists - no, hear me out, by negotiating with these terrorists as we have done with the PLO."

Andrew - spot on, except that I'm afraid it's not a genuine question any more. HP these days is neither left nor decent.

10/07/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF we are descending into the dregs of decency, Labour Friends of Iraq are generally mentioned favourably by Nasty Nick , HP et al , rather in the same way Iranian bus drivers are. But not so much recently. Wonder why ?Labour Friends of Iraq held a joint stall at the recent Labour conference with the Islamic Dawa Party: That is to say, Labour Friends of Iraq's stall was partly paid for by an Islamist party, and had lots of Islamic Dawa propaganda on it. Maliki, Iraq's PM is a Dawa member, so Labour Friends of Iraq held a joint stall with the party which used Saddam-era laws against the unions. Dawa are "moderate" these days, but were founded to oppose specifically (1) the Iraqi communist party and (2) The right of women to inherit. Dawa were fiercely supressed by Saddam, he had loads of them killed etc. However, Dawa members who fled Iraq to Lebanon helped found Hezbollah. Dawa also launched suicide bombingsagianst the US Emabassy and other targets in Kuwait in 1982.

10/07/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody glimpse the Kammster on last night's Newsnight?

He was only on very briefly to state that Governments shouldn't have a role in running banks and that this is a liquidity rather than a insolvency crisis. The second statement, IMHO, is incorrect. The banks are insolvent because of the enormous holes in their balance sheets, and the market knows it.

Does anybody else here think it bizarre that whenever the financial crisis is discussed on BBC News they never feature anyone who isn't a hedgie or investment banker. But it was these people got us into these problems in the first place. The BBC never gets anyone else on, and certainly no one from the left who might offer a very different perspective on how we got into this mess and how we might get out of it. BBC News in this area seems incredibly conservative to me, and certainly not left-wing as is so often claimed.

10/08/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

given that they are pretty worked up about long dead Italian government connections with Palestinian terrorists, has HP run a condemnathon to denounce the current and live Italian government connections with fascists

I've dug into this Cossiga story, and Andrew's question is more apposite than I'd imagined. Gianfranco Fini, the leader of the post-Fascist Alleanza Nazionale, made a statement in August - on the 28th anniversary of the Bologna bombing - saying, in effect, "look, chaps, we need to own up to this one" (after all these years, the grey areas which have caused increasing confusion about the truth of the massacre need to be cleared up). Gianni Alemanno replied by picking up on this weird story of Cossiga's* and saying "yes, we need to clear up the grey areas by making it clear that it was the Palestinians that did it". Alemanno is the mayor of Rome - he was elected just after the parliamentary elections - and, while in office, has specifically dissented from Fini's denunciation of Fascism. (Fini called Fascism "absolute evil" on a visit to Israel a few years back; Alemanno recently said that race laws were absolute evil, but Fascism itself, well, that wasn't so bad when you come to look at it. The significance of this is that Italian Fascism didn't have race laws until the Nazis leant on them, and even then they were fairly half-hearted - take the anti-semitism out of Italian Fascism and there'd still be plenty of evil to go around.)

In short, this story isn't a distraction from the rehabilitation of Fascism in Italy; it's part of the rehabilitation of Fascism in Italy.

(Spare a thought for Fini, who seems like a perfectly decent right-of-barking Tory. As leader of AN he seems to have wanted to do something similar to what David Trimble wanted to do with the UUP, rehabilitating some fairly dodgy ideas and people by making a break for the mainstream and leaving the most dodgy elements behind. Instead of which, he could end up doing what David Trimble actually did, making a break for the mainstream more or less on his own, and leaving someone less squeamish about the dodgy elements - i.e. Berlusconi - to clean up at his expense.)

*It could be true, of course - but Cossiga's not the first person I'd trust to tell me the time of day, let alone to give me a revised version of a story he witnessed at close quarters nearly 30 years ago. And why bring Moro into it at all? The poor guy had been dead for two years at the time.

10/08/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kammster - I think he was on BBC World last week on a similar subject (I saw a trailer but didn't stop in to see the programme). Perhaps the BBC would argue that the Kammster is left-wing so there's no bias!

Moussaka Man

10/08/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubby "Just because he was too economically illiterate to foresee the financial implosion we are currently witnessing it doesn’t mean that plenty of others didn’t."

Quite, but you seem to forget that once you join the inner circle of the political elite you're never wrong: if any event occurs that you failed to predict it's because it couldn't have been predicted. If you fail to predict that Iraq may not have had WMD that's because no-one could have predicted that Iraq had thrown away its WMD. If you fail to predict that the invasion of Iraq would make life worse for Iraqis that's because no-one could have predicted that a war would have unexpected consequences. And if you fail to predict the curent economic crisis that's because no-one could have predicted that an economy built on easy credit would implode.

What that? There were some people who predicted all of these things? Do you really think we should take any notice of those bruschetta-bothering muesli-munching Luddite post-modernists?

Moussaka Man

10/08/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT but decency watching: Nick doesn't seem to have an actual idea for his Standard column so mocks people for blurting out their fears, before doing the same thing and concluding, seemingly off topic, that this will be remembered as the point where Britons lost trust in banks for good.

They've also started putting his shorter bits on their site which is unfortunate since we have to read Nick's opinion of literary fiction. Apparently

A good, serious first novel used to sell between 2,000 and 5,000 copies. Now it will be lucky to make the shops.

Not sure that makes sense. good novels have always been rejected. Has nick read Netherland? I think it'd be right up his street, and it's selling well. But keep going:

if the old model of literary fiction is failing, authors must react. There's no point in being an unread writer.

Someone should probably have told James Joyce, one of the writers who presumably adhered to this old model, that if you don't sell thousands immediately, there's no point in writing. Or possibly Nick is talking shit, again, about something he doesn't understand. He's at his absolute weakest on literature.

And on art, to which he also returns - apparently he does know that Serota and Saatchi are different people, but has failed to notice that it's only Saatchi who's guilty of bulk-buying concenptual art. Has Nick even been to Tate Modern recently?

10/08/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite, but you seem to forget that once you join the inner circle of the political elite you're never wrong: if any event occurs that you failed to predict it's because it couldn't have been predicted.

Yeah but do you not think its astonishing that commentators and politicians can discard the ideologies that they have spent years telling the rest of us are 'the only game in town' with the same insouciant air that one might toss away a pair of dirty briefs.

No one in the media calls them on this, and we have to endure an endless procession of stuffed shirts from the City, informing us how we, rather then then they, will have to pony up for their greed and recklessness.

10/08/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen Kamm on TV before and he wasn't at all like I expected - I was expecting a boyish looking figure (as per the picture on his blog) with a squeaky voice.
To be fair he spoke more sense than the other guy (some kind of banking historian?)

10/08/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

How can you munch muesli?

10/08/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tesco own-brand muesli is fairly crunchy.

10/08/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"My type of middle-class north Londoner never talks about money, not even with our oldest friends"

Eh? Nick never stops blathering on about his own lack of money.

10/08/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

We're NOT watching Nick anymore. OK?

Now that's out of the way, look at this.

D2, stop sniggering.

10/08/2008 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, my bad CC.

10/09/2008 07:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kamm was on More4 news about 10 days ago, but his co-interviewee was Ann Pettifor, the anti-Third World Debt campaigner and author of the 2006 Book "The Coming First World Debt Crisis." But she was hardly allowed to speak. I'd say she got 30 percent of the time.


10/09/2008 05:26:00 PM  

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