Peter Mandelson the Hinduja Group and Jaguar cars

Well, well well.....

Peter Mandelson has been back as a minister in the UK for a matter of a few weeks and already the situation becomes intriguing.

He has today announced an interest in trying to save Jaguar/Land Rover, all well and good may be the view, a big employer, lots of jobs, but I wonder why he has chosen this particular employer.

Jaguar is now ultimately owned by Tata Group, who are an Indian owned business.

Interestingly Tata Group, announced the signature of a joint venture agreement with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd for establishing a coal-based power plant in Orissa, on 17 December

More importantly this joint venture will meet the demands of the IOCL Paradip refinery and petrochemicals complex, according to a Tata Power communication to the stock exchange. Tata Power will hold 74 per cent equity and IOCL will hold 26 per cent equity in the proposed joint venture.

No great shakes there. However, on December 12th, ONGC and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) joined hands for mutual co-operation in the fields of oil and gas exploration, production, and marketing.

ONGC themsleves have joint ventures in the development of Oil and Gas refineries in Iran and on 4th December the Hinduja group announced plans to develop a further refinery in Kakinda, although the ONGC are dragging their heels a little.

While there is nothing definitive about any of this, it seems a little strange, that for the first time in the recent past the Hinduja Group and Tata are loosely connected, it is within a matter of days, when large investments are being made, that Mandelson steps up to the plate to save Tata having to divert money into bailing out Jaguar/Land Rover.

Tata and Hinduja have crossed wires previously when Hinduja Group had a Joint Venture with Iveco(Fiat), before buying out the Iveco interest of Ashok Leyland, Ratan Tata is on the board of Fiat.

While this may all be an innocent coincidence, Mandelson, the Hindujas and seemingly unrelated trade deals do seem to go hand in hand.

I seem to recall Mandelson was forced to resign over a small matter of passports and the Hinduja brothers 7 years ago
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Nowun Till on John Sergeant thanks to Now Magazine

I enjoyed the piece by Now Magazine published on 25th Novemeber about the Strictly Come Dancing television programme.

..... ‘BBC executives feel that John was driven out,’ a source tells the Daily Mail. ‘No action could be taken mid-series. However, when the ratings figures start to come in, they will be carefully scrutinised.’

Almost 12 viewers tuned in for 64-year-old John's farewell dance.....
(Full article)

Almost 12 viewers. Well I know I wasn't one of those 12, so who was?
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Nowun Till on Barack Obama

I wondered how long the hype would last.

Obama was elected with a sense that he would bring changes and a new sense of prosperity to a world besieged by recession and economic gloom.

Surely if any one could, the superhero Obama would save the world (well the US and closely allied capitalist countries) from doom.

Well he isn't yet the 'hands on the tiller' president, but if his book sales are anything to go by, it doesn't bode well.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
by Obama, Barack

Is being offered at a 40% discount (somewhat worse than the measure of recession).

However, if you haven't bought the book yet and want to find out more about the Obama dream, pick it up here with a 40% discount
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Nowun Till is intrigued by Waitrose advertising Heroin

In the UK, there is a group of ad writers who really believe it is trendy and hip to use the '70's as a style icon.

We have the farcical idea that John Lydon is a man to sell butter. Waitrose now feel that using the Stranglers track Golden Brown, is a way to introduce us to their products.

These are evidently people of my generation who now wish to pretend they were the rebels in their youth. I assure you, when I was a teenager in the '70's these ad copy writers were not quite as rebellious as they like to pretend.

I was living in Bromley, I was a punk rocker, but I had very few friends, very few allies and faced a peer group who despised my lifestyle.

Yet now, the pretence is that this was all great stuff and was supported by these advertising copy writers.

The Sex Pistols, sold out to cash very early and to the credit of them, they made no pretence of it. Lydon was and remains an image, but not a reality of the time. His only interest was in money, good for him, but pretending he was rebelling and that the advertising copy wirters were supporters. really takes a joke one step too far.

We have London Calling, as a theme behind the Olympics 2012, which is nothing but a sick joke. London Calling, was a song of its time about social deprivation, not about London being a great City.

The Waitrose theme song, Golden Brown, evidently unbeknown to the copy writers, is about Heroin.

Why don't the morons, now in their late 40's and early 50's, stop pretending they were of the punk '70s.

Punk has become a focal point for the seventies and early eighties (way after Lydon had disappeared). but was a minority and intensely disliked lifestyle, I still have the knife scars to prove how disliked we were.

I have yet to find one of these aged 'trendy' ad execs, who actually understands punk.

Sure the Stranglers were not mainstream punk, but at the time, no one cared, but they seem to now.... but when Waitrose advertise Heroin, you know the ad agencies really are run by morons.
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Nowun Till snorts around the bank directors tax payers trough

Great news for all of us in the UK. Our banks are safe.... erm???

Lets try that one more time... Great news Bank Executives bonuses guaranteed by tax payers.

The announcement that the UK Government is going to purchase shares in a few banks and insist the money is lent out is being viewed by some as a wonderful idea.

Lets look at what got us into the mire here... Lending and over borrowing... So to get out of it... Borrow more. As we are heading into a recession, the UK Government has itself announced 3,000 people being sacked today, how are all these redundant workers going to pay for these loans? To suggest the banks need the money to lend to each other is any kind of solution, is to ignore the issue of what happened this time round.

Even worse, is the Directors trough. It may have escaped the myopic vision of some people, but executives are paid bonuses, in many ways, including .... share price.... Tax payers buying shares in failing companies funnily enough will bolster share prices and the poor old executives will be forced to accept their bonuses for such wonderful performance.

I do however agree that any bank which has managed to get tax payers to clear their debts and bolster their assets should be rewarding the directors with huge bonuses. It is a wonderful learning exercise for those of us not running banks... Create a business model which fails and is too complicated for politicians to understand, insist the world will end if your business goes bust and hey, your debts are gone and the taxpayers bolster your share-price.

Why don't politicians leave what they don't understand alone and cease listening to spin doctors, the failing banks have insisted the world is about to end and those PR guys have done a great job in creating a smoke screen behind which politicians have panicked.

The simple fact remains, in the UK and US there remain a significant number of banks, who are doing very nicely and very capable of buying out any ailing and failing banks. The investor guarantee schemes fulfil requirements for 98% of the population.
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Nowun Till thinks about ID cards

The British Government are intent on introducing ID cards, on the pretext it will stop terrorism and illegal immigration. Despite simple common sense that this is nonsense, my own views to one side. I wonder how effective this will really turn out.

Already, weekly there are reports of sensitive personal data being lost and IDs being stolen. Not to mention the biometrics intended to be used on the cards have shown a very high failure rate.

This week, comes some even more reassuring news.

The Stalinist sounding 'Border Agency', run by HM Revenue and Customs until 1st April have problems with their own security checks. Seven Security Personnel working in the Border Agency turn out to be illegal immigrants. One has been arrested, five have resigned and one is on maternity leave.

This isn't new news, as the problems were discovered in December last year, however information was only obtained recently, using disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act, not because the department wished to be honest, but because they were forced. I wonder what else is sitting under the carpet waiting to be forced out in to the open. HMRC specialised in employing illegal workers, in 2005, 10 cleaners were found to be carrying forged documents.

HMRC commented, these 'irregularities' came about during routine checks on paperwork. In other words, employ first and check later.... Nice way to work and an interesting defence for any child care home who 'accidently' employs a paedophile... Well we were going to check later, or a hospital employing a mass killer.... well it was on our to do list.

Not good enough HMRC and certainly note a vote of confidence on the ability for ID checks and hence cards, to be in any way effective.
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Nowun Till - learning from the Nigerian email scam

If you receive this email, it may not be a scam....

From: Henry Paulson
Date: 9/23/2008
Subject: Urgent transaction - need your help

Bright Greetings Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent and important business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 700 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with renowned Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren towallstreetbailout (at) treasury (dot) gov so that we transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive you’re information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Wonderful salutations to you cherish friend from Republic of America.

Yours Faithfully,
Minister of Treasury Paulson

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Nowun till welcomes the extra S in the USA

That stalwart of free market capitalism, finally capitulates and becomes a socialist republic, welcome to the new USA, alternatively called the Republic of the United Socialist States of America or RUSSA for short, oh the irony.

With the collapse of the mainstay of the capitalist structures, namely banks, RUSSA has shown its hand clearly and the state has effectively taken control of the banking system. Billions of US$ have been used to shore up creaking money lenders, with little regard for the wider economy.

It appears that if you run a medium sized business in the US, you and your staff can go swim, but if you run a bank, the good old treasury will step in, maintain your bonus, pump billions into your business and let you keep running what you destroyed. More galling, if you wish to take over one of these failed banks, the Government will subsidize your purchase.

Oh, but a line has been drawn in the sand with Merrills - hardly. The line has been crossed and once crossed, it is like Canute trying to keep back the sea.

The tragedy is that these banks have been run with a failed business model and as such in free market capitalism should fail as a business. What is the point of keeping in place, the same board and management team who destroyed the business in the first place?

Were this a systemic and catastrophic failure of capitalism, places like Bank of America etc. would not be running succesful businesses, which can afford to buy out these failed businesses. There is nothing more than simple incompetence that has caused these failures and socialism doesn't cover up failure.

Now that RUSSA has been created, perhaps we can expect to see more concern for the individual. How a country can morally sit and pontificate, while pouring billions into keeping failed business managers in jobs, while permitting people to live in abject poverty, failing after years to rebuild a destroyed city, because it is in the South, I don't know.

Welcome RUSSA goodbye the USA
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Nowun Till wonders about personal responsibility

I am completely bored with idiots claiming their debt is the fault of the banks.

If I sent a mailer offering untold riches if the recipient just blew their head off, would anyone take me up on the offer?

Just because a bank tells someone it is prepared to offer a loan, doesn't mean they have to accept the offer.

Look at the income work out if you can afford the debt, if not... walk away.

Now we have a bunch of equally thick 'economists' proclaiming this is the worst thing that has ever happened and the world is doomed.

Yes, thousands of people will loose their jobs, house prices will fall and companies will go bust..... So what. This is the flip side of capitalism. It isn't all profit and it isn't all glitter, else we would all live in luxury.

Work it out, the minute anyone needs something, someone has to create/manufacture it, so by simple intelligence, we can't all be living a life of Riley.

So Thick idiot borrowed too much money on their credit card, bank loan, mortgage. That is thick idiots fault, not mine, not HBOS, not the Government. Thick idiot the one who signed the credit agreement, get over it.

Yet still these idiots who couldn't work out their own finances, now wish to proclaim their right to vote, to influence and to engage. No thanks, the sooner they fall through the trap door the better. They are evidently are too thick to understand their own finances, do they really have any sensible thoughts on deciding anything outside their own influence, when they get that wrong?

Stop blaming others for your own failings.

If you are about to loose your house, that is your own fault, no one elses. Try facing up to personal responsibility.
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Nowun Till listens to out of the woodwork astrophysicists

Get over it, suddenly the world is full of expert astrophysicists. The Cern particle accelerator, has not been created today, CERN has been around for years conducting experiments, but suddenly the world is "going to end". Even more galling, is the simple fact that the significant experiments don't even start until next year.

Yes, these are new experiments, yes they are in a much larger and faster accelerator, but headlines to not you an astrophysicist make.

The intention is to determine the answer =4, the question is not being identified.

The experiments will possibly help identify what happened immediately after big bang, they will not and are not an attempt to discover what cause big bang, so they may well find out the answer =4 but they will still not discover what plus, multiplied, divided, cubed or whatever else actually made =4.

The assumption is still unproven that there ever was a big bang. That particular question is still up for debate.

As for the woodwork experts, do they even know what the alternative theories to big bang are? Could they determine black hole light shift if it hit them in the head (as it regularly does) and can they discuss the Friedmann-lemaitre expanding-spacetime paradigm?

I doubt it, but suddenly they know all about the CERN particle accelerator, as if they even know what it is and question the safety of these current experiments.
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Nowun Till at home with the great and the good

The expression 'the great and the good' what exactly does it mean and who is it meant to impress?

Is this a club membership, apparently Bill Clinton qualifies for this group. Is the entry criteria for this group one that means you have to lie to your wife after getting a blow job from your secretary? Great? Good? Not sure on that.

Tony Blair apparently meets the qualifying mark. Ex Prime Minister of the UK, widely derided and despised, ignored the public and consistently lied (apparently all politicians 'have to lie'). Great? Good?

Roman Polanski is another qualifier. He is still wanted in the US for questioning about his sexual preferences, which include having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl. Great? Good?

Seems the term 'great and good' may have become a little distorted and should perhaps read perverted and corrupt.
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Nowun Till wonders what NICE would make of 19 gold medals

It would be interesting to obtain an evaluation form NICE, as to whether the £300 million invested in team GB for the Olympics, resulting in 19 gold medals was money well spent.

NICE, is the UK body, which evaluates the cost/benefit of medicines and decides whether they will be available for NHS patients in the UK.

They have decided that many peoples lives are not worth saving as the investment is too high and have such barriers to entry, that Roche have recently decided not to bother sending some cancer drugs for evaluation by NICE, as it is too expensive to go through the process.

I have a feeling that NICE would decide that at £15 million a gold medal, the value for money just isn't there.

Would we be better off in the UK having NICE decide on investment in sport, or Sport bodies evaluating on investment in saving lives?
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Nowun Till wonders at Rooney arrogance

Bolt increasingly showboated as he progressed though the 100 and 200 meter sprints at the 2008 Olympics. While ugly to watch, he was at least able to deliver.

An unheard of British 400 meter runner in the British 4x400 meter relay team decided he would join the party, with far more amusing results.

Another athlete who feels the need to wear sunglasses on dark nights, he was the anchor runner in the semi-final, which the British team won, by a handsome margin. Unfortunately, Rooney, decided to wave his baton, in a come and catch me if you can attitude, as he approached the finishing line.

It was a pleasure to watch him fail miserably in the final leg of the final, where Britain finished in 4th. I was watching for his showmanship as he approached the line, but strangely it wasn't there. All he was able to do on this occasion was throw the baton on the ground in the manner of a tempestuous child.

Arrogance never looks pretty and even less so from a failure.
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Nowun Till wonders how many racists it takes to change a light bulb?

The bigots in the UK are happily winning their battle to isolate the islands from dirty foreigners, stealing 'our jobs'. Well done racists.

With a downturn in economic activity in the UK and boneheaded immigration policies by the totalitarian labour government, the number of immigrants in the UK is set to decline steeply. Good old recession should be the war cry of the closed minded.

There are currently 72 000 foreign workers employed in the British food industry around 53% of these are Polish and they are beginning to head home. As a result 28% of food and drink manufacturers surveyed, have indicated this will hamper productivity. Increasing vacancy levels, which should be a good thing in an economic downturn. However British workers have priced themselves out of the market demanding far higher wages, than any sensible employer would pay. The F&B sector will be forced to employ British workers, who wont get out of bed unless they are overpaid, this will inevitably lead to a hike in food prices.

While the bigots in the UK like to believe every Daily Mail headline, the only reason British workers are not being employed is because they demand wages which are unacceptable. As a result, the UK now faces the position, whereby the bigots can be delighted that foreign workers are being driven out of this country. I wonder what they will screech when they have to pay double digit inflation prices for their food?

Don't tell me, profiteering businesses?

It is not just the bigots in delight unfortunately. F&B manufacturers are now trying to climb on the gravy train of grants for training, as apparently the indigenous species in the UK is too thick to work in the industry, so need to be trained.

base source thanks go to

oh and the answer... Can't be done, they don't want to be enlightened.
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Nowun Till wonders about data protection

The continued incompetence of bureaucrats in handling data is no longer of any surprise. Once again in the UK, the government have managed to loose sensitive data held on individuals. This time, it is the records of prisoners.

On this occasion, it was a private contracting firm who have managed to loose the information. It appears that the government is happy for sensitive data to be passed on to contractors on a whim. Many of these privately contracted firms, use contract labour in administrative roles, so the security and integrity of the data is always compromised, so much for data protection.

The continued demands for Identity Cards to be carried by individuals in the UK, is not something I support, on a variety of grounds. My own perspective aside, how much faith can even the most ardent supporter have of systems which so evidently fail?

The irony on this occasion, is that the records that have been lost, are of convicted criminals and it anticipated many of these individuals will seek protection or relocation, as their names and addresses are held on the data files.

This comes hard on the heels of 25 million records detailing claimants of child benefit.

At this rate, it may be better to load all the information onto the internet and let google index it, at least that way it is likely to collated correctly, it will save millions of pounds in contract fees, as the costs will be for data input, rather than IT consultants and I have more faith that Google will be able to collate the information by individual. Who knows what everyone's record will show, if the UK government are responsible for collation.

Once again there is to be an 'enquiry' what exactly is the point of these enquiries. Nothing happens, data files are still lost and the Government continues to loose credibility. The only beneficiaries are yet more political cronies who are appointed and paid to undertake these enquiries.
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Nowun Till reflects on sunglasses

Watching the women's hurdles final this afternoon, a confident American, Lolo Jones, stood at the starting blocks. Expectations surrounding her, that she would win the final.

All was going well until she met the penultimate hurdle, which she ran into as though she hadn't seen it. Perhaps she hadn't. The night sky over Beijing being dark and the stadium floodlight, there evidently wasn't any sun around, but that didn't stop Lolo Jones finding the need to wear sunglasses.

Why, oh why, do people feel the need to wear sunglasses at night? Why wear them in a sprint race at all when there is absolutely no glare?

I am delighted she ran into the hurdle, this constant need to look like an idiot, sporting sunglasses at midnight is laughable, but not as funny as an idiot wearing sunglasses doing something stupid.

Sunglasses have never been cool, nor will they ever. What they demonstrate, particularly out of sunlight, is lack of confidence and a desire to hide. The antithesis of the 'cool' unfazed, intended image.
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Nowun Till on 'we' and the added 'h'

Having watched some of the Olympics, it becomes ever more irritating the more I watch it.

No, not because I have any problem with the sports, or the coverage, but the interviews with competitors are the bane.

Increasingly when asked how an individual feels after an event the athlete concerned manages to introduce the term 'we' into it. That would be absolutely fine were they actually referring to more than one person, but they aren't. They are talking about themselves and no one else.

This 'Napoleon complex' is becoming increasingly common in sport and acting, where the interviewee develops some massive ego boost and suddenly thinks they are a multitude of people. I just wish the interviewer would have the front to ask them who are the other people they are referring to.

The sooner it stops, the better.

Which leads me on to a phenomenon in the UK, which is particularly irritating. The additional 'h'. There is a city on the south coast of the UK called Southampton, pronounced suhth-amp-tuhn, but regularly an additional 'h' appears with the pronunciation becoming south-hampton. Even more ridiculous is Southall an area of London. pronounced Suh-thall, which has now become South-hall. Why? Bearing in mind in England regularly letters are omitted completely in speech,, why do pretentious radio broadcasters feel the need to poncify pronunciation of areas? Anything to do with house prices in the area they live?

It reminds me of Clapham in South London, always a used to be great place, but not in the least trendy, until the late '80s and early '90s, when people with some money began to move into the area and a new sub-location defined as Clapham Common (which to be more precise had to be the North side of the Common) became the new 'desirable residence, or 'des res' according to estate agents. Some even managed to change the pronunciation Clap-m to Claam.

Why are the British net curtain twitchers so irritating.

Don't you just love the pretentious
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Nowun Till wonders about Sebastian Coe

What exactly is it that Sebastian Coe has, that makes him the right person to be the chair of the London organising committee for the London 2012 Olympics.

He won Olympic gold, so was a good athlete - ok, but is that relevant?

He is a politician - Not a good thing

He is a peer - Not a good thing

In 2006 he was appointed to the board of Bio-Synergy. Relevant?

Well Sebastian Coe likes to put himself forward as the epitome of banishing drugs in sport. Strangely enough Bio Synergy sell a controversial performance-enhancing substance banned in some countries. Creatine is found naturally in the body and in foods such as meat and fish which means it would be difficult to include on the list of prohibited substances. But is banned in France as a supplement, it is used by some British athletes as a legal alternative to anabolic steroids.

Medical experts have raised concerns about creatines long-term effects: It has been linked to cancer and kidney damage and side-effects are said to include muscle cramps, vomiting and dehydration.

FIFA, world football's governing body (of which he has held the position of Chair ofthe ethics committee), issued a warning to players using creatine, saying there were risks it could be contaminated with traces of banned substances.

Russell Langley, of UK Sport, the agency responsible for implementing anti-doping policy in the UK, said its advice to athletes was not to take any supplements because of the risks.

Sebastian Coe had this to say ... "This has nothing to do with my involvement with London 2012."

Complete Leisure Group - established shortly after London won the bid in 2005 to host the Olympics, with Lord Coe as the majority shareholder and main asset. - relevant?

CLG consists of Sebastian Coe Ltd - through which Lord Coe is paid for his appearances, media work and consultancies - the Sport magazine publisher, and sports drinks firm Biosynergy Ltd.

In August of 2007 In an email sent on 20 August, one of the company's directors, Robin Miller, wrote to Lord Coe and another director, Peter Abbey, calling for "urgent" action because he was being threatened with legal action after CLG failed to file annual accounts as required by company law.

CLG's accountant, Rakesh Patel of the Adler Shine ... "any auditor, us included, would not be able to give a clean audit report and would need to qualify (the accounts)... as the group (CLG) would not be able to demonstrate that it had sufficient cash resources to pay their debts".

He also added that Adler Shine will do no further work until CLG has settled the fees it owes the firm, and asks for the current year's auditing fee in advance.

CLG raised £1 million in investment with the help of Peter Abbey, In an exchange of emails with Craig Inglis, an investor from the Liberty Hill Group Abbey said "I am not hiding anything...The money, along with another 400,000, was pissed away ... and if you want to come in and see me, I will tell you chapter and verse... I am not happy having this in writing for obvious reasons...this is about the worst situation I have had to deal with and we are trying to solve it quietly. DO NOT circulate this PLEASE!!!"

Sebastian Coe also strenuously denies any link between his Olympics role and his earnings of at least £200,000 from speeches, product endorsements, and consultancy funnelled through CLG. However his PA Susie Black, who is contracted to be employed full-time by London 2012 and is paid as such out of Olympic funds. A spokeswoman for Sebastian Coe commented..' Ms Black also sometimes "printed things out" for CLG on London 2012 office printers and may have been involved in scheduling Lord Coe's private speaking events.

"Lord Coe has one diary. If it was a CLG meeting she might make (the appointment)" '

I am not too sure any of this adds much credibility to someone responsible for holding the purse strings to £multi-billion of anyone's money.

So what does make Sebastian Coe the best person for the job?

His drive? His commitment? His education? His network? Or something else...
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Nowun Till on the recession

Why are economists unable to use the term 'decline'?

I wonder sometimes if economists are spending too much time with politicians, jazzing up their speech with double talk.

The use of the word 'decline' seems to have been banished, much as Stalin banished those he didn't like. Reports by economists now refer to 'negative growth', why? It sounds like a second hand car dealer telling someone that a car with 100,000 miles on the clock, is 'run in'. It is nothing more than presentational skills gone whack.

Who are these economists protecting and why do they need to? As a listener/reader I don't want to have to translate doublespeak into some semblance of a language I understand. I expect it of politicians, who tell us all they 'have to lie' (I will leave that to another time), but not of economists and reporters.

It gets even worse, when they they talk about the periods of growth that have preceded this period. Just today I heard a reporter, even his head doing somersaults over what exactly he was trying to say, when he told listeners ' the two quarters of negative growth need to be compared to the growth, erm strong growth, growth over the previous few years.'

Decline is decline, growth is growth and negative growth would have made Winston Smith wince.
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