rashbre central: April 2021

Wednesday 28 April 2021

in a flat spin from the money tree

We can see the No 11 flat refurbishment being packaged into a couple of neat transactions. 

First, the £58k which was donated by tory donor Lord Brownlow but later squirmingky paid back by Boris once others had spotted the sleaze potential. Add to that the £30k allowance that he could take, and Bada-Bing £88k. 

Of course, that is just to replace Theresa May's furnishings, and there is still the other £200k for general refurbishments as well. If Bozza forgot about the £58k donation, it begs the question bout what else he has overlooked. 

Still, £88k is a bigger budget than Angela Scanlon usually gets on the TV makeover programme 'Your Home Made Perfect', but I guess Carrie must have such demanding standards. 

The Electoral Commission have said it would mounting a formal investigation by Lord Geidt, but smoke and fire and bolts and horses phrases spring to mind. He's going to advise on any further registration of interests that might be needed. Oh, that's all right then.

I'd have thought a quick peek into the property would be one way to tell if there had been suspicious spending, but come to think of it, that new Russian-built £2.6m recording studio inside Number 10 looks reassuringly tawdry. 

And we have Michael Gove's journo wife Sarah Vine implying that a John Lewis furnished flat is now living in a skip. Well, Bozza and fiancée Carrie Symonds are reported to have felt the decor they inherited from Theresa May was “a John Lewis nightmare” - and Gove is still trying to take over from The Bozz.

I don't really care about the flat and its content, except that it is another microcosm of the elitist chumocratic operation of our system.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Look behind you. The callous pantomime continues.

So sad to see the dangerous clown on his new stage. The backdrop, which we all assumed had been made that blue colour so that it could be used for chroma-keying, clearly isn't suitable. And the way the serial blusterer has to sit right on the edge of the raised stage where someone could push him off can't have escaped the eyes of one or two cabinet members.

I can remember when I was part of a local Community Committee and we needed a new stage and some lights, I think we did a better job than this and for less than a couple of thousand quid. But we were a charity and maybe didn't have to pay VAT. If the new room and stage is a metaphor of how things are getting done around here then it is not a particularly comfortable one.

I can't help thinking about a whole string of other situations now, every time I see this pinnacle of our government:

  • £200k Flat refurb
  • Mystery £58k payment to Downing Street Trust
  • 'Let it Rip'
  • 'Pile em high'
  • £2.6m Briefing room 
  • Jennifer Arcuri free access
  • Pole dance flat payment
  • Hands under the table
  • Chumocracys all round
  • Fast lane unaccountable procurements
  • Use of long grass for enquiries
  • Long-term old personal phone use
When Michelle Obama and Samatha Cameron sat in the "Cameron" £30,000 refurbishment of Number 11, it didn't look too bad, but I maybe blustering Boris has wreaked havoc since those days?

And he knows we'll never know what is really going on.

Sunday 25 April 2021

invisible democracy

We've got the elections in a few days. London has that fancy booklet for the Mayoral decision, but most places are bereft of information. My ward is a case in point. We have four candidates. Three of them don't show a face at all on the whocanivotefor.co.uk page. The other one shows a Conservative man who looks convincingly startled that a dark wig has just been dropped onto his head. 

If we drill further, then the only candidate with comprehensive coverage is the Conservative, from whom we also received a leaflet and a shabbily reproduced letter. At least there is a different picture on the leaflet, and probably it was taken in the last decade.

The Labour candidate also has some blurb, and it reads as if he is from around here. The other two don't seem to have anything. No blurb, no links. 

It makes voting in a democracy quite difficult when the information isn't available. I guess we can conclude that:

a) They don't think they will win so why put up the information?
b) They don't have sufficient money to mount a case?
c) They don't have sufficient organisation to mount their case?

My conclusion is that most people will simply vote tribally, and probably be slightly influenced by whose Parliamentary representative is the best at getting thrown out of pubs or concealing sleaze.

Saturday 24 April 2021

Invasive methods and integrity vacuums

So Labour are trotting out the old accusation towards the the government of “fighting each other like rats in a sack”. I don't think it is as good as the Conservative's Dominic Grieve's own one of (roughly) the PM being like a vacuum of integrity. Far more racey.

Meanwhile Boris has apparently chopped new kindling to create a smokescreen around his dodgy doings. Dominic Cummings (for it is he) said the prime minister had behaved in a way he considered “mad and totally unethical”, and warned that he would happily give evidence under oath to an inquiry.

The pantomime leadership continues. Boris tries to hoover up his text messages to Mr Dyson, many of which apparently are from Boris's alternate phone. Normally this would be called a burner, but Boris has kept the same number for more that ten years. His hotties line, perhaps? 

And Boris is doing a Trump and calling out 'the chatty rat' who provided the leaks, except it seems (allegedly) to be one of Carrie (his girlfriend's) chums. If it is Henry Newman, then Boris could be accused of clowning around with the investigation too, although Nr 10 has bothered to issue a statement that Boris has never interfered in a government leak enquiry.

Of course, the lockdown leak was at the centre of what must be an entirely embarrassing situation for BoJo, apparently causing him to authorise the cabinet secretary to use more invasive methods than are usually applied to leak inquiries because of the seriousness of the leak. 

But I remember that Boris doesn't get embarrassed about anything, and seems to weasel his way out of any tight spot, Name of South West Mayor Candidate? Loan for fixing up the No 10 flat? £350 million a week to NHS? Cover-ups, sleaze and corruption. The way ahead.

Wednesday 21 April 2021


I've been out driving along motorways again. 

First of all, they are 'lightly loaded' with traffic. Secondly, there seem to be many more electric cars around. I noticed this mainly by the number of Tesla cars zooming along the outside lane. In prior years it would have been Audis, or before that Vauxhalls. Each with one company representative in them.

I decided to take a quick peek and can see that Tesla drivers do get some advantages.

All Tesla cars have zero emissions and may be eligible for financial incentives that encourage clean energy use in the UK.

Benefits for All Tesla Drivers:
  • Exempt from London Congestion Charge
  • Access to clean air zones, including the London Ultra Low Emission Zone
  • Up to £28,000 interest-free loan (Scotland only)
  • Vehicle Excise Duty

Benefits of Tesla for Business:
  • 1% Benefit in Kind (BiK) (compared with the normal 20%-37% BiK)
  • 100% First Year Allowance deduction
  • No car fuel benefit charge
  • Reduced National Insurance contributions
  • Eligible for salary sacrifice schemes (like bicycles and gym membership)

I was reminded of driving around in Norway a few years ago, when the Teslas were being trialled there and had massive benefits to their users. It looks as if a company car scheme is yielding similar benefits in the UK now.

Thursday 15 April 2021

cat mathematics

Time to meet Juliette Häberli. 

I've been working on my next novel, which is a really odd one. I decided to plug Coin into my evolving universe of stories and used the last novel - An Unstable System to feature Matt Nicholson (from Coin) along with some the Triangle folk (Bigsy, Clare, Jake, Christina) in a story about inventions. 

I sent them to Geneva, but then, right at the end of the story, some of them left for Bodo, Norway, which also features in Pulse and some of the Edge stories. 

Now the only thing is, Pulse is set in the future (maybe 100 years away) and Edge and Edge, Blue/Red are even further (some 300 years later).

It would be impossible for characters from the near-now of An Unstable System to bridge to these later times. 

Did I say Impossible? Or merely Improbable. 

I'll need some Big Science to help me with this conundrum. Drum roll for solutions to Poincaré's conjecture, provided by Grigori Perelman using Richard S. Hamilton's Ricci flow solving the problem converged in three dimensions.

Imagine a ring doughnut with a bangle trapped on it. Throw in some quark-gluon plasma leakage.

"We are back to cat mathematics," said Juliette, "We are now dealing with problems outside of human comprehension, in the same way that most arithmetic is outside of a cat's comprehension."