Monthly Archives: March 2006

“Lost generation of 18- to 40-year-olds unable to cope with debts and soaring house prices”

No shit Sherlock:

The study, by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Bristol University, published today, is the biggest of its kind undertaken in Britain. It paints a picture of a generational divide fuelled by higher education costs and the collapse of company pension schemes – with 42% of adults now with no pension and 70% with no meaningful savings.

So, what does the FSA propose doing about it?

The FSA will call today for a new national strategy to improve Britain’s financial capability, including workplace-based financial seminars targeted at 4 million employees; making personal finance more prominent in the national curriculum from 2008; and “money doctor” packs which will be sent to 1.5 million new and prospective parents each year.

Is it me, or is this code for “fuck all”? I don’t need to attend a seminar to tell me I can’t afford to buy a house – I need affordable housing. I don’t need more education to tell me how to afford paying a pension; I need to stop subsidising rich old people living in expensive housing.

Talking of rich old people…

Help the Aged criticised the report which, it said, ignored the needs of older people.

*YAWN!* It always has to be about you, doesn’t it? We’ve had nothing but report after report about the needs of old people. Cash poor, asset poor old people I have every sympathy for: that’s me in a few decades. Cash “poor” asset filthy-rich I have no time for; why can’t their assets pay for their generation’s poor? Why do I have to pay, just because I don’t have vast sums wrapped up in property?

Mutter… grumble… grr…

Eight Soldiers

You’ve caught me in a bit of a comics mood at the moment. Just finished reading volume two of the collected Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison and a bunch of artists. This series launched during the General Election so I didn’t even try to keep up to speed with it.

From what I’ve read so far, it shows real promise. Lots of Morrisonian touches (insectoid villains working on the frontiers of reality, hugely complicated plot that takes you a while to even begin to grasp, zero tolerance on cruelty to cats), and the new spins on old characters (some of which are familiar to me, some of them less so) are interesting. He hasn’t been afraid to depart quite significantly from the original premises, his take on the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion being particularly of note. I also love the way the story unfolds in a series of four issue mini-series, but not in an obvious team cross-over way, just the odd character here and there and a sense that it is all slowly coming together.

Grant Morrison is intimately involved with the Infinite Crisis arc currently unfolding in every single DC Comic. I’m afraid I’m no longer interested in this sort of cosmic nonsense – the plotlines tend to look as if they have been written by a committee which is in fact exactly what has happened. This is just another attempt to sort out the horrible mess that is DC Continuity, the first being the original Crisis and the second being Zero Hour (for the benefit of non-comics readers, these “big events” are cosmic battles that tend to conclude with the whole uni/multiverse exploding and then being rebooted, with the plug being pulled on literally dozens of plot arcs and unwanted characters). Like both of these however, there seems to be some interesting developments on the fringes. Alan “him again” Moore’s take in Swamp Thing is a recognised classic and, though I’m guessing here, Seven Soldiers of Victory appears to be taking a similar “meanwhile…” approach.

Speaking on soldiers, one great “must buy” I saw in Borders this week is the latest 2000AD extreme. Timed to coincide with the imminent release of the new Rogue Trooper computer game (which somehow I doubt I will be rushing to boy), it includes lots of fantastic gems from the 2000AD vaults including the Rogue Trooper/Judge Dredd crossover (we’ll gloss over the fact that this strip seems to confuse the “Rogue” Rogue Trooper and the “Friday” version shall we?), John Smith, Steve Dillon and Kevin Walker’s Cinnabar and several long forgotten Alan “he gets around a bit dinnee?” Moore Rogue Trooper annual stories. While lacking the homoerotic undertones and general madness of the Gerry Finlay-Day strips (all of which have now been reprinted in glorious paperbacks), all these strips are well worth a trip to your local comics emporium for.

On fantasy terrorists, graffiti rhetoricists and intellectual propertyists (???): Part One

V for Vendetta

Finally got to see V for Vendetta on Friday. I didn’t have my hopes up and made sure I read Peter Bradshaw’s one-star review to deliberately dampen my spirits. The great thing about Peter Bradshaw is that he has absolutely no taste and you can guarantee him to give a bad review if he perceives that “everyone else” thinks a film is good – never was iconoclasm so drearily predictable. The fact is though, he confirmed all my prejudices: eighties roots too glaring, US portrayal of “us Brits” patronising, overblown Wachowski fanboy pap. This was the film I was steeling myself for. Continue reading On fantasy terrorists, graffiti rhetoricists and intellectual propertyists (???): Part One

Leah Darbyshire: a loser writes

No Leah, I didn’t find this funny. Feel free to call me a loser, but your latest obsession with Vivienne Raper is quite irrational.

You state that:

We Darbyshires are not nasty. We’re always lovely to people we like. But if you hurt us, as many in the Party have done, then you can expect to be told about it and to be given a taste of your own medicine.

Yet while Vivienne has done nothing to you, you have yet to “name and shame” “all those men who came on to me, asked me out, texted me, flirted with me and letched over me in the Lib Dems and all those who made inappropriate comments or touched me inappropriately when I was both single and married.” Go on, spill the beans.

And if the couple of sarcastic comments of Vivienne’s has warranted such an onslaught, what on Earth did Julia Goldsworthy do? Why is it you consistently make women your targets rather than all those wicked men?

In a bizarre twist of fate, it would appear that another “Leia Derbyshire” has now taken offence. My advice to LeAH is simple: go to yahoogroups, register, and keep all your friends and family updated on your “fabulous” life that way. Nasty, horrible people like me won’t bother you any more.

Anti-Student Grant

Grant Shapps MP makes an important point:

Householders in England and Wales are paying £80m extra council tax a year to subsidise students.

Quite right – it’s a serious problem. Would the Lib Dems’ local income tax policy solve the situation? ‘Fraid not. It is a curious thing to come from a Tory however, given that his party staunchly defends the very system – Council Tax – that is at fault here.

So what is the solution? Simple really: tax the landlord not the tenant. Mr Shapps should take a page out of his colleague David Curry‘s book and join the campaign for land value taxation.

When Loonies Attack

For the past few days, my blog has been inundated by comments to my two recent posts on the English Question coming from English Nationalists, presumably because of a reference on the Cross of St George forum and Campaign for an English Parliament blog.

It’s all got a little bit out of hand, and I must reply soon, but I don’t have time right now. Suffice to say some of the swivel-eyed loonery rather makes my case for me. Regular readers, enjoy!