Thursday, April 30, 2009

UK ends bilateral military aid to Colombia

Britain has quietly ended nearly a decade of military aid to Colombia's armed forces after accusations of gross violations of human rights, including the murder of civilians who were shot and reported as guerrillas killed in combat.

The Colombian government was "extremely surprised" by the decision to cut off the bilateral cooperation programmes, the deputy defence minister, Sergio Jaramillo, told the Guardian.

Jaramillo didn't go on by not saying "I am very surprised. After all, Colombia's human rights record has been abysmal for decades, so why now? Britain did nothing when it was clear the Colombian government were in collusion with paramilitaries to stamp out trade unionism, so this move comes as something of a shock".

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Load of old scrap

One of the very, very few giveaways in last week's budget was the £2000 scrappage allowance, whereby owners of cars over ten years old, with a valid MoT and proof of ownership for at least a year can trade in their old motor for a new one whilst getting a grand off the government and a grand off the manufacturer of their new ride.

This is a very cunning way of looking like you're doing something to stimulate the car industry while actually costing next to bugger all.

As I see it, there are three main groups of people who own cars which are over ten years old.
There are those that buy new and run their cars into the ground before changing. These are probably the greenest of the bunch, what with being less responsible for the enormous energy costs of making cars than someone who continually trades in. This group may be swayed by the £2k on offer.
There are those who can only afford - or who choose - to buy second hand and, if their current whip is ten years old, would only be looking at something three/four years old as a replacement.
There are those whose ten-year old car was bought for what it is, a classic, say. For instance, the wife would dearly love an old MG. I'd quite like a late 70s/early 80s BMW. No scrappage scheme is going to tempt owners of stuff like that to trade in for a bland new Eurobox.

Besides, reports are already emerging that dealers have been steadily raising prices to cover their portion of the £2000 in anticipation of the scheme. So it's bollocks, really.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The hard life of the advertising creative

It must be a hard life being a creative in advertising. I mean, all those hours trawling YouTube for a video you can pass off as your own - like the Berocca ad that is a pure rip-off of OK Go's video for Here It Goes Again - or tossing it off by saying "drumming gorilla" or some other random nonsense and hoping it will fly.

Anyway, I feel it my duty to point out that what was once the wonderful Magical Trevor is now a sad plug for Yellow Pages. For shame.