Friday, September 29, 2006

Shock! Horror! Mortgages can be expensive!

This gem of a story from The Daily Mail caught my eye.

"Millions of home-owners are being caught in a 'never-ending mortgage trap', a shocking study reveals today."

Not sure what definitions are being used, but I would argue that any study of mortgages can't really be shocking. I would define shocking as a report that says US foreign policy is causing international terrorism. Shocking isn't a report that says banks plan to make money out of people who want mortgages.

"The looming crisis has been caused by people changing their mortgage every few years - but never cutting the 'life' of their home loan."

Looming crisis? That's a little hysterical, isn't it? In fact, it is horrifically hysterical. Think about definitions again - an outbreak of a highly contagious, potentially fatal pandemic is a looming crisis. People having to pay more on their mortgages is unfortunate. For the people who have taken out those mortgages. Frankly, it is their problem, and not a "looming crisis" for me.

"Experts warn that it is an 'expensive mistake' which they will regret when they cannot afford to retire even though they are approaching their 65th birthday."

And here is the crux of the matter - it is an expensive mistake. An expensive mistake strongly implies a choice was made. And if you chose to do something that turns out to be a mistake, frankly that is your fucking problem. Deal with it. And with an ageing population and the news Age Discrimination Legislation coming into play on Sunday, we need more people to work past 65. Sure, it is a pisser if you are one of those people, but if you have made a stupid expensive mistake, don't expect any sympathy from me. Your mistake, your problem. Fucking well deal with it, and shut the fuck up whilst you are dealing with it.

"The research, published by the price comparison giant, said it is a foolish idea which is 'fundamentally flawed'."

It is difficult to quantify the number of different ways in which that sentence pisses me off. But the two key ones are siting as your source. Sweet Jesus Christ, it does not rate as a reputable source in my book. And I think the only reason why The Daily Mail is citing money-r-us or whatever the website is called is because it gives them the backbone to hang this irritating story off. And secondly, the phrase "foolish idea which is fundamentally flawed" is just bad writing. I defy The Daily Mail to show me a foolish idea that isn't fundamentally flawed. Wankers.

"With a huge mortgage debt, this could force them to keep on working to keep up with their monthly payments after reaching retirement age."

Again, their choice. Their mistake. Live with it.

"Nick Gardner, director of Chase de Vere Mortgage Management, said: "Sometimes people can tick the 25-year box on the application form as a knee-jerk reaction, without even thinking they've done anything wrong. It is a horribly easy and expensive mistake to make.""

It may well be an easy mistake to make, but again, if you make the mistake, it is your own pissing fault. When taking out a mortgage for hundreds of thousands of pounds, you would have thought most people would have the fucking common sense to read the small print and think about what they are doing. If they don't, then they are fucking stupid and deserve our scorn rather than sympathy.

"For a person with a salary of £23,750, their take-home pay is about £1,500 - but their mortgage repayment would be nearly £1,000. This is before a single other bill, such as council tax, electricity, gas, water, petrol or food, has been paid."


Seriously, this is meant to be a revelation of some kind? It is basic fucking maths! Christ on a trike, it really isn't a revelation that people spend most of their money on accomadation. And again, if they have signed up to a stupid mortgage where they pay more than they should, it remains their own stupid fault.

"David Hollingworth, mortgage specialist at home loan advisers London & Country, said it is a "costly mistake"."

AGAIN - THEIR PROBLEM. Say I make a mistake. Say I pay more than I should for a CD because I don't shop around. Should this go into a national newspaper as a major story? Of course it shouldn't. My own stupid fault for being too lazy to find the cheapest price. The same logic applies to mortgages - sit down, read through the mortgage and understand what it means to you. Then you aren't going to pay more than you should, then you aren't going to make a stupid mistake.

The only reason why this is classed as a news story is because The Daily Mail can whip up some paranoid hysteria amongst home owners in the attempt to keep sales figures up. God forbid they should publish news...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spinning to the end

This site is not just about ripping into The Daily Mail - it is about bad journalism everywhere, regardless of political persuasion, content of the article and who wrote it. Bad, sychophantic and lazy journalism is everywhere, from The Sun to The Times through to the Doctor Who Magazine. It is just that it is most likely to occur in The Daily Mail.

So just to reiterate that everyone is a viable target for The Daily Mail Tendency I though I would flag this humdinger of an article in The Guardian. And by humdinger I mean shameless pile of nauseatingly brown nosing wank. Just to clarify terminology.

They're talking about Blair's farewell speech, of course. As I have touched on elsewhere, I am not a big fan of Blair's conference appearance. The Guardian is. In fact, the way they eulogise the self serving bollocks that spewed from Tone's mouth, you would have thought that he was the second coming of Jesus rather than a crappy Prime Minister on his way out.

"Shining the bright beam of his oratory and intellect across Labour's decade in power..."

You mean the failing 40 watt bulb of his oratory and intellect, surely? And it is not a decade. It is nine years. Learn. To. Count.

"Tony Blair yesterday astounded his party with a speech that impressively illuminated New Labour's achievements while leaving its weaknesses and failures in the shadows."

Yes, well, he is a politician. It is an innovative politician who illuminates their failings whilst leaving their achievements in the shadows. Actually, scratch that. It is a fucking stupid politician who illuminates their failings whilst leaving their achievements in the shadows.

"...a speech that placed him in history but left no one doubting that his ambitions for change run deep into the future."

Yes, I am sure that a self-serving speech will place him in history. Much more so than the country grinding to a halt in the petrol crisis, mass animal slaughter in the foot and mouth crisis and hundreds of thousands dying in the Iraq War. Just like Eden is remembered for his speeches, and in no way for causing the Suez Crisis. And if his ambitions for change run deep into the future, why the bastard hell is he standing down?

"...but in its grandeur the prime minister's last conference address also managed to climb above the urgent question of who will succeed him."

That is no achievement when you think about it. No achievement at all. Finding out who will be our next Prime Minister and when is far more arsing important than shit-eating oratory from Bliar.

"He drew a blinding energy from his words but even more from the way he delivered them, a piece of theatre that ranked with his best: skilled, forceful and focused."

Theatre is fine in politics, as long as the politician is not just theatre. But "a piece of theatre" would be a great way to describe the Blair years, but not in the way The Guardian means it. Blair has been playing at being the politician for nine years. He hasn't actually achieved anything positive at all. In fact, we should just have employed Martin Sheen to play our Prime Minister for nine years. At least he would have been more convincing.

"He balanced emotion and performance with argument, distilling the logic of New Labour. "We defied conventional political wisdom and so changed it," he said."

The logic of New Labour is winning elections at any cost. And Blair's strategy - of running to the centre ground - is not defying conventional political wisdom. In fact it is supporting conventional wisdom. The strategy of running to the centre ground to win a majority has been seen before, with Eden, Macmillan, Wilson, Heath and Major. Gaitskell and Kinnock also tried but failed.

" he finished speaking in Manchester many delegates will have been thinking of what they are about to lose."

Yes, and they probably headed straight to the bar to celebrate the fact that they are going to lose a long streak of piss as Prime Minister whose only ability was to win elections - a skill that has now disappeared, according to the polls.

Looking at that article on their website, I can honestly say that the best bit of analysis comes from their first comment:

"The Guardian can thank itself for creating a story, reporting it, hyping it, milking it, squeezing it and pinching it, for every penny it wasn't worth in the first place."

Amen to that!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Murderous vegetables & contributing

The headline declaims, 'Pesticides found in a third of our food!' Link

Hmm, OK, let's look at this. How much food is produced in this country in the total absence of pesticides? I'm amazed it's only a third, to be honest.

In 1.7% of cases the chemical residues exceeded maximum legal limits, according to the Pesticide Residue Committee's 2005 annual report.
That means 1.7% of the third fell over the limit. That's 0.56% recurring of overall food volume exceeds the limit. And we don't know *by how much* it exceeds the limit.

A further 30.2% of the 3,787 items surveyed during last year had pesticide traces within those limits. In 2004 only 1.09% of samples contained pesticide traces above the statutory limits.
Wow. A variation of 0.61% in a year, from a positive sample of a third of the overall sample.

"In fact, in the fruit where direct comparisons can be made - with apples and pears..." I don't think I need to point out too much here.

"They justify this by suggesting that pesticides found in food under what they term Maximum Residue Levels, simply doesn't count and can be ignored.
Ummm..... yes. That's because pesticides in micromolar amounts won't harm you. CO2 is toxic and is present in the atmosphere, but I'm still typing this!

The Soil Association thinks most parents disagree with this extraordinarily complacent and unscientific view.
... as do, evidently, the Daily Mail. How many parents are aware of the existence of the Soil Association, who have a vested interest in shifting supposedly pesticide-free overpriced sh*t-smeared organic midget veg. But, I digress.

DRUMROLL: And, now, ladies and gentlemen, we get the moneyshot....
The increase is due to more imported exotic fruit and vegetables being tested, the Committee said.


We've already had some interest from contributors. If you'd like to submit anything, email me at moai *AT* mysterious dot co dot UK and we'll sort it out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin....

This blog will be dedicated to mercilessly tearing chunks out of the Daily Mail and any other forms of idiotic media, courtesy of The Moai (formerly of Kalahari Lighthouse nano-fame) and The Nameless Tory (of The Appalling Strangeness). We take the view that, whether you're on the left or right, the Mail's bizarre obsessions with alternative medicine, Diana, house prices and immigrants are easy targets for a damn good fisking.

The Daily Mail Tendency welcomes contributions. The Daily Mail Tendency is not a punk band. But it should be.