Political high brings new lows for dump taking

Willow, London

While everyone else was shedding big fat tears of joy over the Obama win, your flint-eyed correspondent was scouring the Sunday paper to see who was taking a dump: putting out all the news you probably won’t read because you’re too captured by all the history making that’s going on.

And what a treasure trove of ratbaggery I found in the Sunday Times alone, hiding between the cartoons of potential first dogs and shiny happy Obama people. (the trend for high profile first dogs is a political spin phenomenon isn’t it, no doubt designed to capture the affections of the growing numbers of people who don’t have kids and remain unmoved by pictures of the smiley little first children…)
First dump was spectacular enough to make front page - but who has time for headlines with all the pictures of glistening-eyes amongst glittery streamers - was the fact that the banks have told their new owners - the taxpayers as represented by the government - to cop it over high mortgage interest rates. Banks are “not charities” they huffed (no, maybe charity cases is a better word given how much of our taxes have gone to them in recent months)

So - banks get not just emergency billions, but lower interest rates too - all while houseowners get higher interest rates on plunging assets and savers have their interest cut. The government seems impotent against it, despite racking up the national debt to save these very same institutions.

As one commentator put it: the quickest way to get everyone to hate you is to take over banks, and so Gordon Brown is finding. Last week’s headlines were about banks - including the newly nationalised Northern Rock - using some loophole to repossess people’s houses for debts as small as 1000 pounds.
The second example was smaller but more fun for spin-lovers around the world.

There on page two, the flushing loo of newspaper dump-taking, was from the self-styled master of spin himself, Peter Mandelson showing us he’s the spin boss, despite all the strange and murky stories about him and Russian oiligarchs.

In fact, the story was about him and the oiligarch. A spokesman for Peter Mandelson said he had indeed discussed EU trade with Oleg Deripaska, even though Mr Mandelson said previously he had not done so.

It leaves gaping questions open, of course, but now all his people will say when questioned is “that’s old news, it was in the paper last week.” If it only made it to page two then- it can’t be that exciting…..

The interesting thing about all the Mandelson-fuelled hyper-spin is that I’m not so sure the public is buying it. A recent poll said most Brits still feel the government is responsible for the financial mess. Still, Gordon Brown has come a long way from just a couple of months ago, and he’s back and politically alive, so I guess he doesn’t care about details too much.

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