Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hooray for Gordon

Just thought I'd take the opportunity for that blog title, since there are unlikely to be many more chances.
"The government says its aim is to insulate every home in Britain by 2020 - and energy companies, councils and voluntary organisations will be making door-to-door visits in deprived areas to promote the scheme."
Whether or not it is "enough" (and I'm sure plenty of people will be lining up to say it's inadequate), it is still a positive move. Although our old house will certainly not have cavity wall insulation by 2020, due to the fact that it has no cavity...

Back when I was living in the UK, Gordon was one of the most (if not the most) successful Chancellors ever. Now it seems that he is destined to be remembered primarily as one of the feeblest PMs. A sad but entirely predictable end to a political career (and yes I did predict it confidently, although maybe not in writing). Of course it is well-known that all political lives end in failure. I wonder why they never manage to quit while they are ahead. Did anyone ever get out at the top, leaving the masses desperate for more?

(Thinks for a minute.....ah, John Smith. That's taking things a little too far, though.)

20 comments:

P. Lewis said...

John Smith didn't quite make it to the "top". Though he undoubtedly would have.

Churchill probably did, and probably left the people wanting more in answer to your final question.

Harold got out at the top, but whether he left the people wanting more is debatable. He rather handed Callaghan a poisoned chalice, as it turned out.

P. Lewis said...

On the matter of cavity wall insulation. We tried to have it done once, but our walls were too thick for their drill bits (by 1" or so) to reach the cavity. We didn't want them to give our inside walls a case of the measles, so we opted out.

The "engineers" were a bit clueless I think, or they didn't want to go to the expense of purchasing an extra-long drill bit for just one job. I've certainly seen longer ones than they had (Ooh! Er ... missus!), but apparently the diameter was also critical (Ooh! Er ... missus!)

Time to have another look I think.

Of course, if they are still using standard-sized drill bits, then our walls are still too thick!

Looking at some of these "engineers" putting in cavity wall insulation in houses somewhere in the Thames Valley on the BBC News this morning, it looks like they still have standard equipment. (So I'm sure the missus won't be too happy with them next time either!)

SomeBeans said...

I attempted to get cavity wall insulation, the nice man came to survey the house, drilled a hole in the wall then showed me the little polysytrene beads that already lived in the wall (oops!).

Are you sure about Churchill? I'd got the impression that in his third term ('51-55) he sort of petered out...

P. Lewis said...

He'd had a stroke (kept quiet), which was why he actually went. I'd have to check my books to be absolutely sure (it's been a while), but I'm reasonably sure (but ever willing to be corrected) he was still near the top in the eyes of the populace, what with memories of the war still vivid.

AdamW said...

I found out, with cavity wall, it really depends on the installers. We had one lot who turned up after a (very poor it turns out) "survey", who just said "can't do that mate".

Contacted a second company who actually sent an installer round to check the place out, and with a little extra effort he worked out that it was pretty simple and what needed doing where. Two weeks later it was all done.

zencarver said...

Got an example from the USA: George Washington. The last politician to voluntarily go out on top in this country?

SomeBeans said...

P. Lewis - this was all long before I was born ;-) I did read the Roy Jenkins biography some time ago, and was left with a feeling of anti-climax and petering out for Churchill's third term. Maybe that's the difference between a historical view and a public perception view.

I'm trying out direct solar water heating next, seems like madness at the moment...

P. Lewis said...

somebeans: Well, I remember his state funeral, but I was a distant eye twinkle when he resigned from office. Of course there were government crises (at what was still an austere time in Blighty), there always are. But these were largely foreign policy issues, some of which were underway before he got back into office, namely the unilateral declaration of the Iranian government to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the Malaya situation; and there was Kenya under him. But he was knighted and received his Nobel during his last term.

His powers were certainly on the wane because of his health, but there's no comparison between Churchill's and the Tories' public standing then and Broon's and Labour's public standing now. But then times are different, and there's much more public scrutiny with both informed and uninformed opinion moulding public perception nowadays.

Alan Douglas said...

Are you sure that "Gordon is the greatest chancellor ever" was anything more that Liebour spin ?

I'm not.

Alan Douglas

James Annan said...

Well IMO things seemed to go pretty well, and he did it for a long time, but fundamentally my point is not really about the "truth" but rather public perception...and although I'm sure the memories are being wiped by the day, back then he was strongly in favour:

Gordon "Brown has been rated the most successful post-War Chancellor in an exclusive Ipsos MORI poll of nearly 300 academics belonging to the Political Studies Association (PSA)."

guthrie said...

The "Gordon is the most successful chacnellor ever" thing just goes to show that people are really good at fooling themselves.
Anyone with open eyes can see that the PFI/ PPP has cost us many billions; we have the changes to pension fund stuff he did a few years ago which has cost millions of people appreciable amounts of their pensions (my boss is still hacked off about it all); there is the de-regulation of financial companies which has directly contributed to the current recession; the continued lack of proper taxation of companies and very rich people, such that the rich are getting richer and poor getting comparatively poorer; and I'm sure there are other things.

Perhaps he deserves half a cheer for not going completely bonkers and run up gigantic debts or cause the pound to collapse by doing strange things, but then I'd get the sack at work if the only criteria of success was that I didn't destroy the machinery and kill my fellow workers.

Or in other words, new labours scam artists have relied upon the economic illiteracy of the public and media to praise Gordon to the roof, when in fact all he has done is the minimal work possible to look pretty.

guthrie said...

I have had cavity wall insulation done in July. A mid 70's breezeblock flat, and the company seemed to know what they are doing. So far my heating has hardly come on at all, and it takes twice as long for the temperature to drop during the night as it used to.

William Hyde said...

Washington was not the last to voluntarily leave the presidency. Coolidge could have run, and doubtless won, in 1928. Speaking with a verbosity unusual for him he said "I do not choose to run for the presidency in 1928".

EliRabett said...

One of my favorite Coolidge jokes goes that the silent one was seated next to a rather talkative woman at lunch. She said to him: President Coolidge, I have a bet that you will say more than three words to me today. Cal replied: You lose.

OTOH, he had much to be silent about. An accidental and not very good president

James Annan said...

Guthrie,

I agree that the pension raid was a clear mistake, but generally I tend to take the view that a Labour party that would do what *I* want would not have got to a position of power in the first place. Gordon had Tony to deal with too...

Chuck said...

James K. Polk got everything he wanted to accomplish done in his first term, so didn't run again.

Hank Roberts said...

Thermal Cameras Spot Energy Gaps in Your Home - NYTimes.com
... he hired an energy auditor who used infrared images ... “It wasn’t the insulation,” he said. “There were holes. ....
www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/business/businessspecial2/24heat.html?src=tp

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.nachi.org/nytimes2008.htm

text and illustrations

guthrie said...

James, I can see where you are coming from, but as far as I (Who only started becoming politically aware after New labour got into power and thus has little memory of anything before) Gordon happily stood behind Tony on many, many things (eg PFI etc) which were not in any way labour type policies, and really, what has he done differently now he is in charge?

When some friends and I set up a new re-enactment group last year, I had pages of notes and lists of things to do. Gordon, after 10 years as chancellor, doesn't seem to have much he wants to do. Therefore, I say that T and G were much closer together than people like to think, including yourself.

And if they have to stay out of power due to the only way to get power being to copy the Tories, thats fine by me. Gives us more time to build up a proper opposition, or not...

James Annan said...

Guthrie,

I agree that NuLab seems to have run out of steam. However I do still remember the Nasty Party's rule prior to that! If I had a vote (and maybe I will by the time it is next needed) I would probably vote LD on the grounds that they do still appear to have some principles with which I sympathise.