First of these is of course the subject being ‘hijacked’ by a reader with a separate agenda and while one moment you’re reading about Margate, the next you could be reading about the IRA and how the two are very loosely connected. The second problem is the mischief-makers, who have nothing to contribute to the discussion but like to tag it with their own comment, rather like a graffiti artist and the third, is the comment thread becoming so long and often going-off on such a tangent, that incoming readers struggle to discover what the crux of the argument is really about and how it started. This happens quite frequently.
Once a thread moves past twenty comments or so, you may find it starts taking on a life of its own and evolves into a different species with some attributes of the original conversation in much the same way that a whale and a bear share a common ancestor. At which point I move on.
With the New Year almost upon us, what silly stories can be found in the Sunday papers I wonder?
For starters, it appears that more than £30 million of taxpayers' money has been spent on a government scheme to help aspiring pop stars to make it in the music industry. Sadly though and despite the influence of X-Factor on budding talent, fewer than 4,000 people have gone on to find music jobs through the system, at a cost of more than £7,500 per position.
Apparently part of the Government's larger New Deal project to help get the unemployed back into work through training, the scheme pays would-be pop, rock, dance and jazz musicians a top-up of £15 on the £59 a week they would have got in Jobseeker's Allowance if they had remained on the dole.
If you know of anyone visiting the local job centre next week, then suggest they apply now before it all comes to a sticky end.
Ski resorts in Switzerland are reportedly setting “quotas” for Russian tourists. If you’ve been abroad recently, you may have noticed how the Russian influence is flooding some of the more popular resorts. Dubai can be unbearable and they have reached Cuba too. We British are infamous internationally for our football supporters, arriving like locusts in a city and causing havoc. The Russians however arrive in private jets and Bentleys, have bodyguards, lots of girls and quickly turn a family resort into something else. It’s all too much for the Swiss but wait until China allows its new middle-class out en masse; there will be no room at the inn, anywhere at any major holiday destination on the planet.
Finally and if you didn’t know it already, the financial outlook for 2008 is bleak and further reinforced by Gordon’s new year’s message:
In a strong warning, which sets the backdrop for a campaign to revive his premiership, Brown tells Britain to prepare for 'global financial turbulence' in 2008. 'Our strong economy is the foundation,' Brown writes. 'With unbending determination in 2008, we will steer a course of stability through global financial turbulence. The global credit problem that started in America is now the most immediate challenge for every economy.”
The Prime Minister goes on a bit but if we are tightening our belts here in Thanet, you can bet that the 2008 budget will hold some unpleasant tax surprises nationally. It normally does anyway. Wait to see however whether MPs vote themselves an inflation busting 10% pay rise which would be highly embarrassing for the government at such a difficult time in the public sector pay round.