April 2010

28 April 2010
What Chris Mounsey should have said

A few weeks (days?) ago, Chris Mounsey, aka The Devil’s Kitchen and leader of the UK Libertarian Party (or is it Libertarian Party UK?) appeared on Andrew Neil’s TV programme and got torn apart.  As a direct consequence he announced that he was going to give up swearing and that the Devil’s Kitchen was no more.

Brian said: “I told you so.”  Or words to that effect.  Meaning that you can’t mix swearing and party leadership.  But I do find myself wondering if Mounsey could have done better even with the hand he held.

He was asked two main questions.  The first was about the size of his party.  Mounsey immediately went into defensive mode: “Oh we’re growing all the time etc.” and ended up sounding like a dodgy saleman.  Why not say: “Yup we’re tiny at the moment I would like us to be much bigger but we’ve all got to start from somewhere.”?

Or to put it another way: be honest.  Or to put it another other way: you’re not so far in with the Establishment that they’re prepared to ignore your lies yet.

But then came the knock-out blow.  Neil started asking about the swear blogging.  He dug up a particularly choice example most of which he couldn’t repeat but included some line in which Mounsey hoped a trade unionist would bleed to death.

You know what I can’t even remember what Mounsey said in reply but it didn’t come across well.  Yes, I know I could go back and look at the tape but to be honest, I can’t be bothered.  It’s too painful and anyway, I think my impression is far more important than what was actually said.  Anyway,  I think Mounsey backed down.  But he may have been just evasive.  But he looked terrible and the knock-on effects are there for all to see.

But what should he have said?

Again I think he should have been honest.  Which is easier said than done.  The thing they never tell you about honesty is that it is hard work.  Our real motivations can be far from clear.

For instance, I don’t think Mounsey thinks that statists should all be killed.  Not even a substantial minority.  Not even that particular trade unionist.  I think he was simply using colourful language to express his disagreement.  It was not to be taken seriously.  And he should have said so.  This is how the conversation should have gone:

Neil: You’ve said these terrible things.

Mounsey: I was joking.

That is after all, (I hope) the truth.

Neil: Well, I didn’t laugh.

Mounsey: You’re wrong.

Neil: About not laughing?

Mounsey: No.

What Neil is wrong about is the idea that jokes are supposed to lead to laughter.  Some jokes are unserious but not funny.  This is an example.  But there’s no need to tell Neil that.  He’s being the belligerent.  There’s no need to co-operate.

Or perhaps the conversation could have gone this way:

Neil: You’ve said these terrible things.

Mounsey: Had it ever occurred to you that I wasn’t being entirely serious?

Neil: No.

Mounsey: Then you’re a moron.

In the end I suspect Neil did Mounsey a huge favour.  Better to have your disasters early on rather than later.

I may follow this up with Crozier’s compleat guide to dealing with the media.  But I might not.

12 April 2010
Polish economy doing well?

This is a rather striking posting.  It was put up the day of the Katyn crash although it was clearly written beforehand.

Poland is today the most capitalist country in Europe

They kept that one quiet.

Poland’s economy grew at roughly a 5% annual clip until 2008. That’s when – instead of tying its currency to the euro – Poland allowed the zloty to depreciate when the financial crisis hit. As a result, the country enjoyed 3% growth in 2009, and is slated to do at least as well in 2010 and 2011.

Woo hoo.

The budget deficit is currently 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), mainly because – at 18% of GDP – central government spending is extraordinarily low by European standards.

Now, if that’s true that really is great news.  The key word in this is “if”.  The author appears to have something to sell so you have to take it all with a pinch of salt.  Can anyone out there shed some light on this?

05 April 2010
Hope for Doctor Who

Watching the revived Doctor Who over the past 5 years has been a dispiriting experience.  All melodramatic mouth, no intellectual trousers.  But Russell T Davros has moved on to be replaced by Stephen Moffatt - of Coupling and Weeping Angels fame and the first episode with him in charge was screened last night.

And the verdict?  Too early to say yet but its certainly encouraging.  Much more engaging.  I almost felt that Moffatt was succeeding in getting Davies’s ideas to work.