About me

Get new posts by email.

About me

Brown struggles to be heard

Gordon BrownIt’s been an extraordinarily bad few weeks for Mr Brown. I can’t actually remember the last bit of positive press, or even of genuine policy, that he managed to get out.

Even today, his government’s faintly ridiculous announcement about introducing a ‘skills check’ for single parents has been buried by news of more Labour sleaze, leading to the resignation of the impossibly young-looking ex-nurse Peter Watt, who was the party’s general secretary.

With the infamous lost discs, the floods, bluetongue, the ongoing saga with H5N1, the high price of petrol, the Northern Rock scandal, and so much more all obscuring the message, he’s in a bit of a pickle.

Yet, before he came to power, commentators may well have suggested that it was exactly this sort of baptism of fire that would give him a boost – after all, he’s always seemed to be excellent in a crisis. But it now appears that he’s pretty crap when he’s in the middle of the crisis himself.

If he continues to crash his way through crisis after crisis, announcing ridiculous policy after ridiculous policy, then the next government of this country will be Conservative.

Given Mr Brown’s lacklustre performance, I foresee a winter of discontent – amongst the Labour Party, at the very least – and Mr Brown’s position as PM may not seem such a given by the time it’s over.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Instant Opinion: More for free

If you haven’t yet succumbed to your no-doubt overwhelming desire to secure your copy of my fabulous book, Instant Opinion, you might be interested to know that Google Book Search now has a bigger than ever preview of what you might find inside it. View it here, then buy the book from sjhoward.co.uk/shop. In fact, why not get two? It makes a great Christmas present…

This post was filed under: Notes, Site Updates.

Not much posting…

I’m very aware that I haven’t posted much this month. Sorry about that. I will post more as my life becomes less busy!

This post was filed under: Notes.

25m peoples’ bank details lost in the post…

They’ve lost half the country’s bank details, can’t keep track of our cars, publish doctors’ intimate personal details online, drop customs documents in the street, misplace laptops with personal data on them, and don’t even bother with passwords on their computers.

They lost this most recent data by sending it on couriered CD-Roms, which is certainly against policy, and possibly illegal. It’s also the way they lost Standard Life and another banks’ customer details earlier this month, and UBS’s customer details in 2005.

Of course, we already know that Government can’t learn from mistakes, since they rehired the company behind the ‘not fit for purpose’ MTAS computer system.

Now they want us to trust them with our health records and even our identities.

Is this Government serious?

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics, Technology.

Dixons rises from the ashes

PC WorldYou may remember Dixons, the highstreet electrical retailer that was absurdly rebranded as Currys.digital (their pointless dot and italics, not mine).

You may also remember its wonderful press department which secured it regular free advertising via the national media, by putting out stories about items which it would no longer stock. As I detailed in a post with a remarkably prescient title, it received national coverage when it stopped selling analogue radios, 35mm cameras, video recorders, and the computer game Manhunt.

These stories each generated acres of positive press coverage about the futuristic and ‘ahead of the curve’ style of Dixons, for virtually no cost to the company itself. Now that’s good PR – It wouldn’t make sense to sack people like that just because a brand is disappearing.

And, indeed, it appears that the PRs’ jobs were safe – the Dixons press department appears to have shifted across to a different part of the same group of companies. Earlier this year, PC World received much coverage for its decision to stop selling floppy disks – possibly a little too ahead of the curve, given that 700,000,000 of the things are still sold each year.

And on this morning’s commute, I note yet more press coverage, since PC World have decided to stop stocking CRT monitors. Again, possibly too ahead of the curve, given that CRTs are still preferred by many graphics professionals.

How many times can national media outlets be conned into printing an almost identical story, which is effectively an advert for the same group of companies? Six at least, it would appear.

If that isn’t a depressing commentary on journalism today, then I’m not sure what is.

This post was filed under: Media.

The world’s most honest advert?

I note that Vicks are currently running a TV ad with the strapline:

We start with solutions, not problems

Is this a pharmaceutical company admitting that they invent dubious syndromes to fit their drugs? They say that honesty is the best policy, but claiming that their products may form the solution to a non-existent problem might prove to be a little too honest.

This post was filed under: Health, Media.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.