February 29, 2008

Horse 862 - The Day The Dream Died

This is from the files of "Don't Say I Didn't Warn You" - The following is from The Age:
THE average Australian family can no longer afford the average home mortgage, according to new figures that paint a devastating picture of how unaffordable housing has become in capital cities like Melbourne.

As the Reserve Bank considers raising interest rates again next week, figures from the Real Estate Institute of Australia suggest households on average incomes would need to spend $3 in every $8 they earn just to service an average mortgage.

After tax is deducted, it gets worse: the figures imply that almost half the typical family's disposable income would be consumed by the average mortgage.

The housing affordability index, published by the Real Estate Institute and mortgage guarantor Deposit Power, shows that the combination of soaring house prices and higher interest rates is pricing both buyers and renters out of the market.

Several things have brought this into play. Thanks to workplace "reforms" by the Hawke, Keating & Howard Governments (Rudd shows his colours elsewhere, see below), real wages are and have been falling. The general drive for profits has seen an increase in income inequalities to the point where as of today, the bonus day of 2008, it is now official that the Great Australian Dream of owning your own home has died.

I forsaw the structural reasons for this some four years ago:
(from HORSE 98 - 22/04/04 - Generation X, Y and Debt)
The burden of payment falls on Generation Y and E (1975-1995). For the first time we have a group of people who will be in large debt before they purchase a house. Predictably this money to generate the debt from has to come from somewhere, and that my friends over the next 20 years will be pulled out of the system by the Baby Boomers. Everyone saw this coming in the 1970's and of course they knew then how to deal with it, selfishness.

Generations Y & E therefore face a really huge challenge. No job security, the prospect of being priced out of home ownership and paying rent forever (to the Baby Boomers), living in debt from age 18 (to be educated) and above all, having to listen to their retired parents say "it wasn't like this is our day". Sadly it means that the most childish and selfish generation in history will never grow up and their kids will be too old to listen to them.

This is the catch. In an election race politicians never ever talk to Generations Y or E. They will not hold enough of the vote nor power to make a difference so pollies don't see why they need to be addressed.

There is even a misconception that we're generally better off, as indicated here:
Gen Y are the same people as youth have always been. The difference is that there is more money and technology than ever before. Gen Y is just a arrogant and selfish as all teens have been. [or not - there are good and bad in all generations]. My generation were told we had everything given to us. That we didn't appreciate it cos we never struggled. meh. The reality is that considering consequences is not a thing that teens are known for. In fact a lot of early 20's I know struggle. Dammit - I struggle sometimes :)

"My generation were told we had everything given to us". Were told is quite an operative statement here, for being told something and then discovering the reality is quite different. As for having more money and technology? Technology yes, money... no. The sad fact is that the biggest owner of residential property is no longer homeowners, but investment corporations and other financial institutions; unlike other countries, there's nothing to stop them either.

If people are throwing most of their money into their mortgages, then I hate to tell the Reserve Bank but it's not consumer spending which is fuelling this inflation spike but wages-pushed demand. People want higher wages to pay for higher interest rates, so companies that actually do pay a higher wage then pass those costs onto the consumer.

Then I happen to spy this gem from today's Financial Review:
THE Rudd Government's first budget will include an initiative to drive investment in affordable housing projects, by providing $6000 tax credits per dwelling to corporate investors.

"It opens up a whole new class of investment in residential real estate, and I hope over time it will become an important new area for the supply of affordable rental accommodation," Ms Plibersek has told the AFR.

If you read through the 498 page document, then you'll find that this is only available to coporate investors holding $10m plus under management. The net effect of this is to advantage coporate holding of residential property which in turn will help to drive out the mum & dad investors of the market.

Ah the Great Australian Dream - soon to become part of Great Australian Dreamtime. Late as of 29th Feb 2008. R.I.P.

And now:

One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela


2007-08 the summer that never was.

February 26, 2008

Horse 861 - Shut Up and Listen

The concept of God's still small voice when he spoke to Elijah is quite famous. If you don't remember it, this is the text below:
The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Ok, so God isn't a Wind God, or a Mountain God, or an Earthquake God, or a Fire God, that's all very lovely and all so very very Sunday School that it's sappy. This is not a passage about God, but about how long it took Elijah to just shut up and listen.

Tonight I came home to a quiet house and was doing a spot of listening to that still small voice. I was having a fruitful time doing business with God amidst the total and utter crud that was my last 24 hours upon planet Earth. As the night wore on, the quiet unbroken silence turned into quiet broken silence as the rain came in, and completely destroyed silence as guitars were played in the front room.

Secretly I seethed - God was not in the guitars?

The point to all of this is that a little while ago, a storm rolled in and made the sounds of guitars pale in insignificance as the sounds of one million watts of electricity split the night with a crack. Was God in the lightning?

Now that everyone has gone to bed and all is quiet again, that still small voice returned - business finished. I took the time to just shut up and listen.

And now:

One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela


And all the roads are shiny too.

February 21, 2008

Horse 860 - I Dare Not Condemn This Man



Harrod's owner Mohamed al-Fayed, said on Monday that the death of Princess Diana and his son Dodi in a 1997 Paris car crash was murder and accused the British royal family of wanting to "get rid" of Diana. al-Fayed accused Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband and Diana's former father-in-law, of being a "Nazi" and a "racist."

He's accused everyone from the French ambulance crew which he says was infiltrated by the secret service, to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, MI5, MI6, the CIA, the French DGSE, Britain's top police officers, two French pathologists and several newspaper editors, the driver of the Fiat Uno, limo driver Henri Paul, his own bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones and even the gentleman conducting the inquest Lord Justice Scott Baker in having a hand in this.

Whilst all of this on the surface sounds like the ramblings of a headcase and on the face of it is probably likely to be ignored or even laughed at by the general populace, I don't think that this is necessarily fair because it must be said that the man at the centre of this circus Mohamed al-Fayed, in this enquiry is first and formost a father. Make fun of his comments if you will, but here we have a gentleman who has lost his eldest son. Think about that.

This public display of vitriol is in reality a public working of grief. Call him what you will, the fact remains that Mr al-Fayed is a man who is hurting and quite badly. That is something which I don't think we'll ever understand, give the public arena which this is being played out in. I darest not condemn this man.

And now:

One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela


Yup, today is as slow as a wet weekend in Wales.

February 20, 2008

Horse 859 - V

Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Who are you?
Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am in a man in a mask.
Oh, I can see that.
Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation. I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Oh. Right.
But on this most auspicious of nights permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view, a humble vaudvillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengence, a vendetta held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verilly, this vichyssose of verbiage veers most verbose. So let me add that it's my very good honour to meet you, and may call me V.

And now:
One Word Weather with Nelson Mandela

Verily, thanking thee.

February 18, 2008

Horse 858 - Vital Scientific Research into Tastiness

Japan has accused the Australian Government as being racist on it's stance towards the Japanese position on whaling and it's so called "scientific" cull. The obvious question is to garner just exactly what sort of information that this scientific research is actually achieving.

18 years of research from the Japanese has produced a grand total of a mere 55 scientific papers. Just 55! Of those 55 only 14 have any relevancy to the world at large and of those 14 just 4 have actually gone through the process and have been peer reviewed.

How many whales has it taken to produce 4 papers? 6800. Perhaps I'd better put a different spin on that. That's 1700 whales per paper. Mind you, the quality of the writing has mainly incuded details such as length and weight, which isn't really all that different from what your local butcher or abatoir is doing on a daily basis.

There's not people on board these ships saying "ooh look, they have a different metabolism to us" or "they produce a different set of chemicals here". No, it's more like "killed 40 whales and the average length was 8m". This is work that an 8 year old kid could do. Nothing about finding a cure for cancer or other diseases, just "there's another dead one, 4m, now eat"

Yup. Vital research there. I'm wondering if I can get myself registered with the CSIRO and conduct scientific research on cuts of steak. Can anyone spell "ethics" please?

And now:

Tony Blair's Imaginary Lunch

Because it's so tasty.

February 17, 2008

Horse 857 - All Green Now!

What's good for General Motors is good for the USA, apparantly. In an exercise in sheer pig-headedness, GM went and Hybrid-ed their Chevrolet Silverado and the Cadillac Escalade. This does two things, firstly it shows GM's "commitment to the environment by utilising new technology" (from their official blurbs) and secondly and more importantly it exempts the vehicle from existing pollution and upcoming CO2 laws.

The same V8 which sits underneath Holden's Commodore SS has been matched to an electric motor to provide what's claimed to be a 50% reduction of fuel usage - or in the real world, drops it to a very svelte and sexy 23L/100km.

I mean seriously, it's like having the all new "half the calories diet" where you cut everything in half and magically it's half the calories and because it's half the calories you can have twice as much. It's a bit like saying that diarrhoea is an improvement over dysentry.

Did I go too far then?

And now:

Kofi Considers

"Mac or IBM"

I'm glad you were head of the UN. That war hasn't been resolved yet.

February 14, 2008

Horse 856 - My Sorry Solution

With PM Kevin Rudd formally apologising to the "Stolen Generations" of Aboriginal people in Australia, and large Aboriginal groups already putting their hands up for what they expect will be a large amount of coin, it made me want to relook at what our cousins across the Tasman decided to do.

On Feb 6 1840, Captain William Hobson and 40 Māori leaders signed a treaty which would not only end conflict between British settlers but almost more importantly, in-fighting between the Māoris themselves who at best were a disorganised rabble and at worst virtually on the brink of "civil" war.

The Treaty itself was translated into both English and Māori and because the prevailing thought that a complicated document would be difficult to understand, it was deliberately kept quite short and consisted of only three articles.

The first article grants the Queen of the United Kingdom sovereignty over New Zealand.
The second article guarantees to the chiefs full "exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties." It also specifies that Māori will sell land only to the Crown.
The third article guarantees to all Māori the same rights as all other British subjects.

So even in 1840 the Māori were recognised as being a separate people but still with full rights. This contrasts heavily with the Australian Aborigines who weren't even counted on the census until 1967.

The treaty although itself not a legal document or even ratified by any due legal process is still very much a symbolic feature of New Zealand politics. The Māori themselves have 7 of 110 seats in parliament which are exclusively sat in and voted for by Māoris; this doesn't excluded Māoris from running for other seats in the parliament (in theory the same Māori candidate could run as a local, party and a Māori candidate for the same election and win all 3).

In 1990 the then Labour Government outlined what it called the "Principles for Crown Action on the Treaty of Waitangi" after a push for a formal solidification of Waitangi. In the end it was decided that the treaty was best left in an ambiguous state but that certain basic premises and principles be accepted as a logical outflow.

The Principle of Government or the Kawanatanga Principle
Article 1 gives expression to the right of the Crown to make laws and its obligation to govern in accordance with constitutional process. This sovereignty is qualified by the promise to accord the Māori interests specified in article 2 an appropriate priority. This principle describes the balance between articles 1 and 2: the exchange of sovereignty by the Māori people for the protection of the Crown. It was emphasised in the context of this principle that ‘the Government has the right to govern and make laws’.

The Principle of Self-Management (the Rangatiratanga Principle)
Article 2 guarantees to Māori hapū (tribes) the control and enjoyment of those resources that it is their wish to retain. The preservation of a resource base, restoration of tribal self-management, and the active protection of rights, both material and cultural, are necessary elements of the Crown’s policy of recognising rangatiratanga.

The Principle of Equality
Article 3 constitutes a guarantee of legal equality between Māori and other citizens of New Zealand. This means that all New Zealand citizens are equal before the law. Furthermore, the common law system is selected by the Treaty as the basis for that equality, although human rights accepted under international law are also incorporated. Article 3 has an important social significance in the implicit assurance that social rights would be enjoyed equally by Māori with all New Zealand citizens of whatever origin. Special measures to attain that equal enjoyment of social benefits are allowed by international law.

The Principle of Reasonable Cooperation
The Treaty is regarded by the Crown as establishing a fair basis for two peoples in one country. Duality and unity are both significant. Duality implies distinctive cultural development while unity implies common purpose and community. The relationship between community and distinctive development is governed by the requirement of cooperation, which is an obligation placed on both parties by the Treaty. Reasonable cooperation can only take place if there consultation on major issues of common concern and if good faith, balance, and common sense are shown on all sides. The outcome of reasonable cooperation will be partnership.

The Principle of Redress
The Crown accepts a responsibility to provide a process for the resolution of grievances arising from the Treaty. This process may involve courts, the Waitangi Tribunal, or direct negotiation. The provision of redress, where entitlement is established, must take account of its practical impact and of the need to avoid the creation of fresh injustice. If the Crown demonstrates commitment to this process of redress, it will expect reconciliation to result.

The simple fact of the matter is that in New Zealand, a proper effort has been made to recognise the rights of its indigenous peoples at a national and cultral level. There are about 633,000 Māoris living in New Zealand or about 1.4% of the population. The Australian Aborigines only number 455,000 according to the 2006 census or 0.02% of Australia's total population.

Now it could be argued that if all that the Aborginal people are after is simple monetary compensation then perhaps the expense would rest the issue, though given the success of ATSIC and the subsequent ATSIS bodies, one wonders whether the money would be used for little more than private expenses.

I personally can't see why we can't learn from the New Zealand example and install permanent exclusive Aborginal places in both the House of Reps and the Senate (though the issue of the balance of power comes into effect with dealocked parliaments). Also, the principles adopted by the New Zealand government I think are both fair and resonable and practice has shown that they have never been argued with in New Zealand. Does this mean that our cousins across the Tasman might be correct when they view Australia as the stupid big brother with a bigger backyard?

And now:

Kofi Considers

"The Chicken or The Beef?"

Now there's a vexed conundrum!

February 13, 2008

Horse 855 - Sorry?

Just about every commentator in the country will be talking about that word uttered by PM Kevin Rudd in parliament this morning, but equally the phrase "leaves the door open for compensation".
I find it intriguing that an apology should make people instantly shoot their hand out for some extra coin. Almost instantly, we have people scheming schemes to work out how to profit from words of contrition. It's almost like saying Sorry Isn't Good Enough.

To say, "I am sorry" can be very sincere and, depending on how it is said, communicate a depth of meaning. However, it is a phrase which, by such common usage, has lost some of its meaning for a serious occasion. It can be used several times a day. As you brush up against somebody in a crowd, it is customary to say, "I'm sorry." But it has been my observation that frequently when people say, "I am sorry," they really mean, "I am sorry I got caught."

Therein lies a problem. Being sorry only expresses a state or a position. Being sorry of itself does nothing to restore that which has been damaged. Being sorry if anything affixes the blame to the person feeling sorry and doesn't shift, diffuse or get rid of it. Further proof of this was something else I'd heard on the radio, and equally as worrying considering that it came from someone standing as head of an Aboriginal group. "We must remember what has happened in the past, but we must also never forgive it."

Never forgive? Does being sorry actually work at all with a forgiveness accompanying it?

Many people seem to think that it is a sign of weakness to ask for forgiveness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength. It is so helpful in relationships, particularly when there is no shared responsibility or blame. All of us have done harmful and even reprehensible things to others for which there was no justification. Frequently, these are the occasions when it is hardest to summon up one's courage to ask for forgiveness. The most difficult seven words to say can be, "I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"

There's an exercise for the day. Have a scan of the newspapers, your office or even within your own family and have a look for the amount of forgiveness going on. I imagine that it's very low indeed.

Sorry isn't good enough and forgiveness isn't forthcoming.

And now:

One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela


I think that's a fair assessment Mr Mandela.

February 07, 2008

Horse 854 - Tales from Pooh Corner

A lady on the corner of Military Rd and Spit Rd was crossing the street this morning when this absolute idiot of a driver ran a red light and knocked her back to the kerb. Thankfully there was another lady on hand who was able to calm her down while I ran frantically back to the office to call an ambulance.

Through this event I've seen all sorts of elements of human kindness. From the chap who went and got her a cup of tea, to a few people who asked what they could do to help. When confronted with something like this, it's nice to see that somewhere in society there still are people who know how to do the right thing.

To the owner of a white, 2005 model, Mistubishi Lancer ES,

Dear Sir,
You are a coward, a cad and worst of all a downright nasty piece of work; dare I say it... a heartless bastard!

Driving like a crazed moron from the planet Nuff-Nuff is something I can overlook. Weaving in and out of traffic like a piece of thread in an 18th century loom is also something I can overlook.


A) Knocking over a pedestrian and then,
B) Fleeing the scene

...either speaks of your fear and cowardice or if by the bizarre and twisted chance you aren't fearful or ashamed, then it says more about your total disregard for the well-being of other people. Your details were handed onto the police, and I hope that you get a right royal talking to.

That is all.

February 05, 2008

Horse 853 - RIP the Big Aussie 6

The news over the wireless this afternoon is that Mitsubishi intends to shut down it's South Australia manufacturing facilities. I for one can't say I'm very much surprised by this news at all. Why then did the rot start? I believe that I have the answer.

The Product is Wrong
The 380 was built to replace a car with a dwindling market presence. At the time, it was thought that this was due to the size of the car (which probably was); so rather than look at the trends of where sales were going, Mitsubishi built a car which would attack the then two biggest sellers in the market place.
The problem was that the whammy of rising petrol prices had a triple effect. Firstly the ability of the consumer to buy a bigger car was falling, this in turn caused the overall market for the big car segment to shrink. Thirdly, with the domestic market shrinking, the logical option would be to improve the quality for export which they did. The problem here is that because rising petrol prices are a global phenomenon, the export market also shurnk. The only two places left in the world that would nominally buy a 4L car are the USA (who already build the car and call it a Galant) and Australia... oops.
Holden and Ford are also suffering flagging sales because of rising oil prices. For Dec of 2007 the highest selling car in Australia was not Commodore or Falcon but Corolla. In fact Toyotas total sales of Corolla outsold Commodore, Falcon, 380 and Camry put together.
Quite simply, the 380 was the right car for 1996, but it arrived in 2006 after the world changed.

In fact I accused Holden of making the same mistake back in July of 2006. http://rollo75.blogspot.com/2006/07/horse-593-holdens-big-mistake.html

Also, Ford Motor Company have realised the mistake:

The Marketing is Wrong
Mitsubishi Australia for a great deal of time enjoyed the success and the sales that came with it as a result of the WRC Lancer winning 5 World title with Tommi Makkinen at the helm. With Mitsubishi's WRC program waning and then collapsing in a heap, Mitsubishi Australia applied to AVESCO to become a third manufacturer in the V Supercars.
AVESCO Basically closed ranks. Firstly they wanted to see if such a racecar could be built. Mitsubishi obliged:


If you bear in mind that AVESCO's board then as now was/is made up of representatives from the Teams and the Manufacturers, it makes sense that Ford and Holden would want to keep all other competitors out. This even went before ASIC twice but nothing ever emerged.
It was argued that the Magna and the 380 which followed was a front-wheel-drive car. The regulations were hastily re-written in between the 2003 and 2004 seasons to shut out all competitors who didn't produce a four door car with a V8 option. Despite the fact that the Falcon had replaced its 5L V8 with a 5.4L engine and that Holden likewise had ditched its engine in favour of the 6L LS2 which wasn't even produced in Australia.
To add further insult, the VE Commodore when it came out exceeded the dimensions laid out in the technical manual for the V8 Supercars, and the car has had strips cut from both sides of the car and the roof has been re-profiled. Therefore the VE shares not even a single component with the road car at all - so much for the regulations eh?
What this in effect did was give the 380 no market presence at all. Ford and Holden helped to kill the 380 and with it Mitsubishi's domestic facility, because if nobody know about your product, you sure aint selling it. From a purely commercial viewpoint, to knock out Mitsubishi falls perfectly in line with a company's motives anyway.

It is only a matter of time before Ford shuts down its Falcon plants in Australia by which time it will have tooled up for the Focus. Holden is possibly going to be left with no competitors and that's perhaps fine, but it does suggest that the Big Aussie 6 is dead; today was the first casualty.

Tony Blair's Imaginary Lunch


Do you need an imaginary bib Tony?

February 04, 2008

Horse 852 - Sanguine? Really? Moi?

Last night, he the B came up to me after the church service and amongst other things called me rather sanguine. I thought about this later and came to the conclusion that this isn't all that accurate... maybe. I just don't think I'm that perky a person.

The ancient Greeks thought that personality types were ruled by the four humours present in the body. Admittedly this is a patently daft idea, but the four personality types are at least semi useful markers.
They are as follows:

Sanguine: Cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident.
A sanguine person is one who is generally cocky, arrogant, supremely confident, occasionally prone to daydreaming and perhaps impulsive.

Choleric: Extremely irritable or easily angered; irascible.
Cholerics are the leaders and doers of the world. They are the source of much of the drive and ambition to do better things. Passion and drive are good things if directed in the right direction, but like fire can burn things they're not supposed to if left unchecked.

Melancholic: Disposed to or affected with melancholy; gloomy.
Could these people be classed as the "realists" of the world? The flip side of being pre-disposed to looking at the cruelty and unfairness of the world is that Melancholics are the ponderers and thinkers. Some of the greatest works of art and culture were produced by people who took the time to stop and plan.

Phlegmatic: Unexcitable; having a stolid or sluggish nature.
In theory a phlegmatic person if self-contained, self-confident, relaxed and kind. These people are the rational, sometime curious organisers in society. Because of this they are dependable and solid but stubborn to change.

I think that perhaps B came to a fair assessment when he described himself as being Melancholy, though personally I don't see myself as being overly sanguine at all. Self-assured and confident? Most certainly. Cocky? Of course. Optimistic? Heck no. Then again, I'm not sure where I'd fit now.

Tony Blair's Imaginary Lunch


Come now Tony, you'll make yourself "imaginary" sick.

February 01, 2008

Horse 851 - Seeing Red

West Ham 1 - Liverpool 0

I am seeing red. Not because that Liverpool lost but the manner in which they did. This was a club that was supposed to be fighting for the title at the beginning of the year, but thanks to meddling in management by new American owners Hicks and Gillet, whom it is increasingly apparant that they do not understand the vagrancies of running a football club as opposed to a franchise and especially one in Europe, nobody is sure whether their job is going to be there next week let alone dreams of shooting for titles or European positions. Heck at the end of this year, an Inter-Toto spot would look good.

The simple fact of the matter is that Liverpool's last win was all the way back on Boxing Day. There have been 7 draws since then, or if you wish 14 points dropped; that would have left them on 54 points and just 3 behind Man Utd and Arsenal.

Someone should have yelled "fire" after going behind twice against Non-League side Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup 4th Round. 5-2 looks like a worthwhile result except that Havant and Waterlooville are 113 places below Liverpool on the FA League hierachy.

1-0 down against West Ham was made even all the more heart-breaking when Jamie Carragher brought down Freddy Lungberg of ex-Arsenal fame in the 94th minute to award nobby-no-mates Mark Noble a penalty which he drilled past a limp Reina.
Ok it wasn't just that Carragher's stupidity cost a penalty which did lose the match but that between Torres, Kuyt, Crouch, Gerrard etc et al, they couldn't between them put one goal in the back of the net. To get to the point of losing in the 94th required nuff-nuffing about about like a pack of muppets for the previous 93.

I secretly hope that Liverpool bounces back from this and wins the FA Cup if only to keep Rafa in a job, but otherwise, I hope that they come 9th so that they won't be playing in Europe. Hear that, I'm actually hoping against success! Why? Because then and only then, will the players realise that they've sullied the famous red strip of Liverpool.

Every time the players pass the sign that reads "This is Anfield" they should be reminded that they step onto a field of 18 league titles, and for the past 17 years... nil*. This year they've not contributed one either. About the only consolation is that previous to 1992 it was 26 years between titles for Man Utd.

*And the rest?
Steve does have a fair point though. Those 17 years of waiting have yielded 3 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Community Shields, 1 Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup and 2 UEFA Super Cups.

Tony Blair's Imaginary Lunch

"Hungry Jack's Whopper"

It really does take two hands.