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The Grouch – 7/10/10

Cuts, more cuts, Muirhead’s parmo blind-spot and Liverpool FC in a mess.

Published on October 8th 2010.

The Grouch – 7/10/10

Money for nothing and your redundancy notices for free.

We’re all in it together, apparently. Ed Miliband said it; George Osborne said it. What they mean of course is that we’re all in it together, while they retreat back to their three-storey townhouses and climb into their heated indoor Jacuzzis.

And while the coalition works out how much money it can take from us, let’s consider the cash it has also trousered from the Northwest Regional Development Agency. According to a Freedom of Information request by Politicial Scrapbook, the agency stumped up £1,500 to get into the Tory conference before the party came to power. The Tories then swiftly announced that it would be abolishing the agency, so there was no point in its staff attending the conference, but would be keeping the cash thanks very much. Non-refundable passes. Presumably that falls under the coalition’s policy of fairness for all?

Tough on child benefits, tough on the causes of child benefits - children.

Aside from the removal of child benefits for some top earners, the other eye-raising coalition idea of the week was to suggest cutting back the actual number of children that those living on benefits choose to have.

The Grouch supports this. In fact, a recent trip to the Wacky Warehouse makes him think there should be a restriction on how many children anyone can have. One between four, perhaps? Time-share children.

Jack Straw was brutally honest during a radio interview, admitting that there were ‘feckless’ people who simply saw benefits as a lifestyle choice, ‘irresponsibly’ bringing four, five or six children into the world with no intention of working to support them.

So here’s The Grouch’s policy on this. Any working individual earning more than £44,000 a year can rightfully, at will, claim a child from a family that has been subsisting entirely on benefits for more than five years. Perhaps a nominal fee could be involved. What? Human trafficking? No, we can create some sort of legislative loophole to get around that.

The Grouch jests of course. Sort of.

He’s leaving, probably not on a jet plane

So it’s adieu and farewell to Geoff Muirhead, who has checked out of Manchester Airport after 22 years with the company. He’ll be taking up the position of chairman with Ask Developments, so he’ll certainly be busy resurrecting one of Manchester’s best-known property firms.

Muirhead has something in common with Confidential’s handsome news editor, Simon Binns. They’re both from Middlesbrough, home of Paul Daniels, Chris Rea and a gourmet delicacy known locally as the parmo. For the uninitiated, a parmo is a reformed, shaped disc of chicken, smothered with béchamel sauce, topped with low-grade cheese and grilled. Serve in a pizza box with chips and garlic sauce.

Speaking to Muirhead recently, however, The Grouch discovered that he had absolutely no idea what a parmo was, leading Simon to suggest he’d been away from Teesside far too long. Maybe it’s because Peel owns the airport up there?

Muirhead redeemed himself however, admitting to still being a die-hard Boro supporter and ‘Holgate ender’ back in the days of Ayresome Park.

Liverpool FC – a cautionary tale

Who has the right to sell Liverpool Football Club? That’s the tantalising question that could go all the way to the High Court.

The chairman, Martin Broughton, says he was installed by the club’s bankers, RBS, with power to sell. He and managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre are currently negotiating the £300m sale to New England Sports Ventures.

Hicks and Gillett say that’s not the case, and claim they have removed Broughton and Ayre from the board with their own people. Hicks and Gillett, who stand to lose around £150m if the sale goes ahead, have already made a mockery of the FA’s fit and proper person test, of course.

But if they do get their way and scupper the sale, they’ll have to renegotiate £280m of debt with RBS, which is hardly likely to be a walk in the park. RBS, lest we forget, is a bank majority owned by us, the tax-paying public.

But how did football get to this? Should Liverpool be placed into administration to ‘send a message’ to the industry about vetting owners and ownership structures more carefully? Should the foreign ownership of English football clubs be banned altogether or do they have the right to treat a community asset as an investment vehicle as long as it delivers success on the pitch?

The courts may have to sort out the mess at Anfield, and the Glazers will no doubt be watching the situation closely.

But the root of the Liverpool fiasco is that the club’s owners – and its bankers – bet the house on red, but ended up with a pair of jokers.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

D KesslerOctober 8th 2010.

Liverpool today, United tomorrow

right on sideOctober 8th 2010.

United today, Liverpool yesterday

John HarrisOctober 8th 2010.

The bank can just drop it into administration and then sell it howeverthey like without troubling the courts

AnonymousOctober 9th 2010.

A person should be free to have as many children as they like.

Everyone else should be free to pay for someone else's children or not as they see fit.

I like freedom. Let's have more of it.

dOctober 10th 2010.

You know that a couple hundred years ago there were only 2billion people on the planet? Now there's what, 7billion?

The planet can't survive our population explosion, expect all food types to get expensive as arable land space dwindles and the earths resources are squandered on our over-population.

Something needs to be done to reduce population levels before mother nature does it for us.

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