Tag Archives: Nick Clegg

Puppet on a string

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

Lang lang - Picture by Marcus Dawes











Having ended my last blog with telling you about things I don’t like I decided to open with a like – podcasts downloaded from the BBC listened to on a Friday while walking the dogs, riding my bike and chilling on Umm Suqeim Beach (one hour max, 8 till 9am) are a treat.  One of my favourites is Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young.  This weekend I listened to Nick Clegg and Lang Lang (a world-renowned Chinese pianist who was born into the one child per family era).

Great extracts from the two broadcasts:

Kirsty to Nick; “there has been a lot of speculation in the Twittersphere about your song selection with Puppet on a string by Sandie Shaw being mentioned”.

Nick to Kirsty without breaking stride; “my first song is piano concerto no. 1 by Chopin”.

Great exchange with a politician who presents himself as a very sincere, decent person who understands ordinary people.  In real life Nick went to one of the top public schools in the UK and as a consequence is right up his own bottom.  He then went on to brush aside his broken pledge on student fees, shame on you Nick; pledge means a solemn binding promise, your party is going to be obliterated at the next election.

With Lang Lang it emerged that he has inspired 35 million Chinese kids to immerse themselves in studying piano.  What I find amazing about this fact is China has no history of piano playing, in other words they are going to end up giving us a good beating at our own game.  People have been predicting that China will be the next super power for some time now but this simple fact brought home to me the reality.  The numbers game combined with their determination to succeed will drive China to the top of the charts well before 2020.  We Brits need to work hard at forming a new special relationship.

Give a buzz to your presentations

Moving swiftly on I wonder if any of you play that brilliant business meeting enlivening game of inserting words on a pre-arranged theme into presentations.  The winner is the one who gets the most buzz words into their presentation.  Mr Marek of MMI fame is a known participant (P.S. one of my favourite wines, The Chocolate Block is AED 100 off this month at MMI; I’ve already secured six bottles!).   Bizarrely a policeman took this game to a whole new level when giving evidence on why he shot and killed Mark Robinson.  His chosen subject was popular song titles.


Yaya will go to the ball

My favourite football story of the week belongs to Yaya Toure, the £200,000 a week Man City player.  When substituted at half time for being rubbish rather than have a quick shower and spend the second half cheering on his teammates he walked off the pitch jumped in his car and drove straight home.   According to a club spokesman this is normal practise so players can avoid the traffic.  Given the way Man City are playing at the moment it won’t be long before the whole crowd heads off at half time and poor Yaya is going to get stuck in the mother of all traffic jams.  Still he will have plenty of time to count his money.   How Yaya is the highest paid player in the Premier League is a great big mystery, no wonder Man City’s changing room is being torn apart by players jealous of only earning £150,000 a week.  It’s easier at Blackpool where their top earning player makes £10,000 a week.

Profits soar instead of morale

Some time ago I expressed jealously that Emirates Airline profits had gone through the stratosphere.  Well last week they declared half-year profits up 350%, wow and wow again. This seems at odds with an Emirates pilot I met recently at a charity bash who told me they are cutting back on everything and he could earn more flying for Easy Jet!  We’ve all seen what happens when an airline ends up with de-motivated staff, could Emirates be heading for rocky waters in their pursuit of profits to bolster Dubai Inc?

Real estate prices – get real

While Emirates seems to be booming along came the expected news that the Abu Dhabi estate market is fast following Dubai into the trough.  “Financial pressure is building on developers in Abu Dhabi after the government aided some by purchasing stakes in projects. Aldar Properties, the emirate’s largest developer, will need $2.7 billion by 2011 to “survive,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.

Here is what the sage of Emaar recently said about Dubai.  Dubai real estate prices will continue to drop as the UAE’s second biggest sheikhdom absorbs an oversupply of homes and offices, said Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties.

“We need 20 months or so to go over the excess supply,” he said during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg Link Real Estate Briefing today in New York.

He added: “Rates in Dubai about a year and half ago were a little higher than New York, which is abnormal.”

Compare and contrast with what Prince Alwaleed is predicting.  Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has warned that Dubai’s property market faces substantial further falls, and will take several years to reach its bottom.  “The price has to go down substantially for demand to reach equilibrium with supply. Many land owners are holding their old prices. Someone has to give in. The price has to go down, substantially. It’s supply and demand – it’s a no brainer.”

I’m with Price Alwaleed on this one.

Cool nerd disses advertising

Bit of advertising related stuff to finish.  I really enjoyed the film Social Network which followed Mark Zuckerberg’s rise from frat room idea to one million members (Facebook now has 500 million members just six years after its launch).  It’s an amazing story and I loved the bit when he resisted having advertising on Facebook on the basis that it isn’t cool.

SEO brilliance

Lots of people in marketing talk about investing in search engine optimisation which in essence means ensuring your website pops up on websites whenever anyone taps in a word you have identified as being related to your business, e.g. tap in hotels Dubai and Jumeirah want to come up first on Google.  Mr Dominic of The Green Foundation fame sent me a very interesting case study on Anne Summers who thought very creatively.   They ran a topical paid search campaign, for example during the BA strike they planted ad copy saying ‘The planes may be grounded, but you can still join the mile high club!’  Very smart, paid search is very cheap so I wonder how the ad agency charged for this bit of creative brilliance.

I need you

Went to my top 5s for this week and realised I’m running out, suggestions please?



Filed under Observations

How can you tell when a politician is lying?

When his lips move!  Sorry to roll out that old joke but I wanted to highlight my favourite moment of the election aftermath.  At David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s love-in last week, Cameron was questioned by a journalist if he recalled what he had said when asked to retell his favourite joke.  His answer at the time was ‘Nick Clegg’.

In partly owning up, he then went into politician speak about if you looked hard enough it would always be possible to find slight policy differences between the Tories and Liberals but they would all work together in peace and harmony.  David, you called Cleggie-boy a joke and I suspect you have a similar thoughts on the Liberal’s policy on Europe and an amnesty for long staying illegal immigrants.

My favourite clip from the election was Adam Boulton squaring up to Alistair Campbell.  It was extremely funny watching the hamster-cheeked Boulton trying to remove his jacket so he could land one on the very fit-looking, former Labour spin-doctor’s, grinning face.  Take a look for yourself and let me know if you still think Sky isn’t The Sun in disguise.

The British press and public love bashing Dubai and I always wondered how long it would take the good people of Britain to catch on to Dubai’s sex trade – this expose from a former resident is horribly accurate apart from the bit about married men and the family-free summer months.  Either I’m terribly naïve or I’m right in thinking the vast majority of married men enjoy going out during the summer for a few beers with their mates but know how to behave properly.


Observation is one thing but this week I’ve decided to reveal my latest money-making idea to scupper iTunes (which is a complete rip-off) while at the same time putting free-loading record companies out of business.  Why should Apple discriminate on price and now the internet has come along with all of its social media opportunities what role do record companies have anymore?  If you live in the US you pay a lot less for downloads than you do elsewhere and the Middle East is basically a download-free zone.  No wonder people download illegally and a lot of the time they don’t pay anything.  My guess is a lot of people don’t mind the artist making money but would prefer not to give money to Apple.

I’m going to provide a portal where artists can upload their albums.  For a download people will pay £1.99, the artist will receive £1.89 and I’ll get 10 pence.  As well as making money from touring. the band will get the money from reasonably priced downloads – 100,000 downloads equates to £189,000.  I will be looking for applause and investors!

Second lastly, my car is nearing the end of its useful life and I’m a wee bit short of the money needed to buy a Bugatti.  I need everyone’s advice – a Mini Cooper S or a Fiat Abarth?  Pictures below.

To close off, it’s top 5s time.  Radio 2 in the UK is holding a vote to decide on the top five singers of all time.  Click the link to join in.


Here are mine in no particular order (my wife will be horrified that Aretha Franklin isn’t on the list).

  • Robert Plant
  • Billy Mackenzie (The Associates)
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Morrissey
  • Cedric Bixler (at the drive-in)

Feel free to chip in via the comments section.


Filed under Observations