Zombie banks and high unemployment look set to curse our economy as they did Japan’s, say Fraser Nelson and Mark Bathgate. A Conservative government could avoid disaster, but only if it is prepared to face the painful realityTo say a country is turning Japanese has a very special meaning to economists. It means entering recession and never properly escaping it. It means entering a world of zombie banks that are being kept alive by taxpayers’ money.
MoD documents leaked to Andrew Gilligan show that the ‘special relationship’ in Iraq was more like a bad marriage: riven with misunderstanding, irritation and hurt feelingsIt may have made it into such pillars of the zeitgeist as The Simpsons, the film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Geri Halliwell’s single ‘Bag It Up’. But it is still, perhaps, a little surprising that that seminal work of cod psychology, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, should have infiltrated a secret Ministry of Defence report into the war on Iraq.
We live in a country where the poorest members of society are literally trapped. We pay them millions not to work, simply maintaining them at subsistence level like prisoners of the state. Tied up with bureaucratic regulations and subject to crazy marginal rates of tax, there are few chances to escape for Britain’s welfare-dependent. A million of those out of work have been jobless for a decade or more.
Rod Liddle says that Ofsted’s attempt to rank schools according to their SATS scores is, like so many of its other ideas, not just unhelpful but counterproductiveFancy a job as head of Ofsted? The post apparently pays not far short of half a million quid per year, and I can’t imagine that there’s much work involved. The problem, I suppose, is that one never knows precisely what they’re looking for when these unelected sinecures at quangocratic bureaucracies are up for grabs, so it’s bloody difficult to prepare for the interview.
Imagine the scenario. You are a military man who retires at 40. Able-bodied, cushioned by a small army pension and the income from a rural estate in west Wales, you turn your back on soldiering. You remain through and through a sportsman. Across your peaceful acres foxes, badgers and otters carve their busy paths. In barns and hedgerows rats and rabbits run amok. How to rout out so much quarry? Only one way presents itself to the resourceful mid-Victorian landowner: breed your own terrier.
Lance corporal Jay Bateman and Jeff Doherty slumped to the ground. They were killed instantly in the first swarm of bullets from an enemy ambush. Their comrades dragged their bodies along irrigation ditches and across burning fields under intense fire. Rocket-propelled grenades skidded and cartwheeled through the poppy stubble, exploded and showered them in dirt and shrapnel.The only helicopter available to evacuate the bodies was called away to pick up a another soldier wounded in a battle up the Musa Qala wadi.