April 26, 2017
Cold night; very chill this morning. So much so I broke my pre-beltane fast by making nettle tea this morning; I really did crave a hot drink.
There is so much
crap nonsense spoken about ‘meat farming’ the livestock industry in this country. For example the spread of Bovine TB in cattle. This, according to government ministers, is the fault of badgers: a cull of badgers is essential to control the disease –
Last year the number of animals slaughtered in England’s badger cull soared to more than 10,000, and while ministers claimed the results a great success, a leading scientist said there was ‘no basis’ for suggesting the cull was effective. Half the badgers killed in 2016 were shot without first being trapped, a method rejected as inhumane by the British Veterinary Association in 2015.
Claire Bass, director of the Humane Society International/UK, said: “Badger culling is a costly distraction from the real solution to TB in cattle. It’s a disease of cattle, primarily spread by cattle, and it’s cattle-focused control measures that will stop it. But the government has sanctioned large-scale ‘badgercide’.”
The National Farmers Union on the other hand claimed the latest cull results a success – although it takes two years for the effects to feed through the system.
According to Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Prof. Christianne Glossop, incidence of bovine TB in Wales have fallen by 28%; the number of infected cattle slaughtered has fallen by 45%; and 94% of Welsh herds are TB free. This achieved without culling a solitary badger!
The largest-ever study conducted to examine whether culling badgers would reduce bovine TB in cattle, a ten-year, £50m study called the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, concluded in 2007 that: “… badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.” See HERE.
I’m so reminded of the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001. Then mass slaughter was perpetrated by Nick Brown and his Ministry of Agriculture officials, aided and abetted by Sir Ben Gill of the NFU. Between February and September that year 2,030 cases of foot & mouth were confirmed, resulting in the culling and incineration of about 6 million animals – 4,900,000 sheep, 700,00 cattle and 400,000 pigs.
The officials and farmers’ leaders refused to countenance vaccination, as practised effectively elsewhere. All this despite the facts that the disease is very rarely passed to humans, who have to be in close contact with the beasts, and that when it does it’s not serious. The last human case in Britain was in 1967. The mass pyres of carcasses were still more bizarre. The virus is sensitive to stomach acid, and so cannot be passed by eating infected meat. If the meat could have been frozen there was no reason to keep the carcasses from the market.
Of course TB in cattle can be passed along the food chain. But it is the similarity in solution to these problems (all of which are funded by the tax payer) of unnecessary mass slaughter – of livestock on one hand, and badgers on the other that I find disturbing.
March 11, 2017
“Make America great again!”
A good piece of rhetoric, don’t you think? But meaning what, exactly…?
Obviously, the statement presupposes a diminution of America – specifically in its quality of ‘greatness’. But what is the precise nature of this quality? Do we, for example, believe America has been made smaller, reduced in dimension by circumstances, international or otherwise?
A simple glance at an atlas shows this not to be the case. The USA still comprises fifty states. Russia has not taken back control of Alaska…yet. In addition, the US still holds sovereignty over fourteen other territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. So no changes there, that I can see.
So where does this diminution lay?
The US has military personnel deployed in over 150 countries around the world, more than any other country in our humble biosphere – which includes both Russia and China. So no reduction there, either.
Perhaps, then, we should look to something more difficult to quantify or define: the perception of the US nation by at least some of its citizens.
Ronald Reagen, who was so good in the movie “Tennessee’s Partner” (he played Cowpoke alongside John Payne’s Tennessee), and as the bad guy Browning in ‘The Killers”, was the first US President to use the slogan ‘Make America great again’. He used it in his 1980 Presidential campaign. He, it appears, had in mind the worsening US economy (inflation skyhigh and growth low).
Bill Clinton used the same term in his 1992 Presidential campaign, so it obviously has a certain attraction to politicians and the electorate.
Perhaps then the term is about nostalgia? A craving for the past? In fact Donald Trump not only used the phrase in his chaotic Presidential campaign, he also took out copyright on it! Made it his trademark, no less! Millions of well fed Americans rallied to the cry, convinced, obviously, that the US had ‘lost’ something.
But, of course, it is this vagueness that makes the phrase so successful. It can mean so many different things to so many different people.
In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump stated the phrase “Make America Great Again” was a
“ look back…(to) a period of time when we were developing at the turn of the century which was a pretty wild time for this country and pretty wild in terms of building that machine, that machine was really based on entrepreneurship.”
Trump also pointed to the “late 1940s and 1950s,” as a time when, he said, “we were not pushed around, we were respected by everybody, we had just won a war, we were pretty much doing what we had to do…”
So, the phrase harks back to the 50s: a time of high employment and low inflation in the States. The American dream was then still a possibility…
But wait. Hold up there. Trump and his people aren’t after a return to the 1950s. The economic policies of the time meant that top wage earners paid 70% tax. The labour unions were strong and it was this strength that in part fuelled an almost unprecedented period of growth and prosperity in the middleclasses. And the level of employment was so high, simply because the majority of women didn’t work.
I can’t see Donald Trump & Co wishing to pay vastly increased levels of tax, can you? Nor can I see him setting up a Marxist Socialist planned society for the benefit of all!
So what then does it mean? Make America Great Again? Simple answer: NOTHING! Or put another way, it means whatever you want it to mean! It is just empty rhetoric.
In fact President Trump has already ‘trademarked’ his slogan for the next Presidential campaign. It is ‘Keep America Great!’ And the winner of the next Presidential campaign will be, I’m certain, the candidate with the best slogan. Genuine policies seem hardly to matter to anyone anymore…It’s all about pretend!
February 24, 2017
Diary 23rd February
Rain and wind; more wind and even more rain. The wind a scream, a beating, rising beyond comprehension.
They give these storms such innocuous names, don’t you think? This one, for example, Doris. Surely, Caligula would be more fitting? Or Rasputin? Or even Jack the feckin’ Ripper!
Let us stop, now, giving the names of women to these destructive events! It is sexist and most unfair!
The labour party is in need of a socialist version of Robert Peel – the man who created the modern conservative party on the ruins of old toryism. There is a need (once again) to reinvent and relaunch the labour brand.
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn has been a great critic of the EU in the past. And, just like Robert Peel over Catholic Emancipation, when faced by strong opposition within his party, he jettisoned previous arguments against the EU, announcing instead support for UK membership. Both sets of arguments make a great deal of sense – but not from the mouth of the same individual.
There, any comparison between Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Robert must end!
I see Jeremy Corbyn in his years as a labour MP as a man alone – leaning so much further to the left of his party than most of his colleagues. He reminded one more of Lenin in exile in Zurich than anything else. True, for a time, Ken Livingston was Kamenev or Lunacharsky to his Lenin. Certainly Jeremy’s arrival on the scene as labour leader was as unexpected as Lenin’s arrival by choo-choo in Russia – and just as devastating.
Probably, no one was more surprised that JC himself by this unexpected promotion!
Certainly most leaders experience trouble with their party (especially in office). Every leader then has to water down the principle that he or she previously professed. JC, basically an honest individual, but greatly out of his depth, accomplishes this with such bad grace – or so it seems. Ultimately, he takes himself and his rhetoric a little too seriously.
JC will be seventy years of age come the next general election. Was it his intention to remain as leader of the labour party indefinitely? Or was his intention to transform the party from within? To change the labour party, forcing it ever leftwards, creating in the process a party to combat capitalism and bring about social revolution. To move it once and for all from Blair’s middle ground. JC’s socialism is preached in moral terms – but it is very much of the 1920s, not the 2020s. Does he understand that? And if he does, does he care?
Labour has become irrelevant to the electorate under JC in my opinion. I predict labour will lose Copeland in today’s byelection, a seat they have retained since 1924. With luck they’ll hang onto Stoke…
January 15, 2017
Diary 15th January
Returned yesterday from a small soirée at Goodrington Sands. It is a dog owners paradise, and most of the population seemed to be engaged in walking their dogs along the beach or promenade.
We arrived there Friday lunchtime and had a boozy lunch followed by a long walk along the beach. The wind was bitterly cold.
S, almost in tears, fears her cat may die soon; it has been very ill, and she has spent a small fortune on vets bills – but, despite every test known to man, the vets are unable to determine exactly what is wrong with the animal. They are perplexed.
S is also concerned her father will not see out this year. Hopefully she is wrong on both counts!
More booze follows.
Twilight then night, with its brood of phantoms that walk the world as sentient things. Muttered “Hullo’s”. Glimpses of the strange, profound and baffling. Circling faces and disembodied voices.
A woman, mid-fifties(?), fleshy and flashy, tells me she has a complete school uniform at home: gym-slip, white socks and big sensible navy-blue knickers. ‘You should come see me in it,’ she says. ‘A weekday’s best for me. I even have a satchel containing crayons and drawing pad.’ She passes me a slip of paper on which is written a phone number and address. ‘I play an adorable little virgin, so innocent – you can corrupt and debauch me in whatever way you desire!’
Time passing. Grotesqueries of light and shadow. The people here are all affluent, bored, over-sexed – almost parodies of themselves. Women with strange secrets in their drowsy eyes. Men, faces flushed with lust, join in the never ending dance.
A woman’s face above me: shadowy eyes, a bright red mouth, and nostrils like dark wells. There are wrinkles at the edges of her mouth and her tongue seems huge inside my mouth. Her cheeks flush scarlet and her eyes glow like little lanterns when her climax engulfs her.
A man’s whispering, Mephistophelian voice at my ear. He offers his wife, a plump forty-something, who spreads her legs to my passionless gaze. He tells me in explicit, vivid detail what he would like to see me do to her.
I comply with each of his shocking instructions.
When she cums it is like a cataclysm.
And then, in another room, another much younger woman. Incredibly vivid. Incredibly flexible. Intense and demanding in each of her movements. The surging of blood to her face, lost in pure physical sensation, and the tingling of nerve endings. The quickening of her breath and spastic motion of hip and thigh…
Finally to bed like an impotent old giant.
Unfortunately, I sleep badly. Doze and wake disoriented in my strange surroundings. Dee snoring gently beside me.
As if to reinforce the surreal experiences of the preceding evening, I watch the breakfast news on BBC. A doctor in an A&E department explains to the camera that he has no beds available. No trolleys left, either. Ambulances are backed up on the A&E ramp outside. The patients cannot be removed from the ambulances, there is nowhere to put them. Consequently, the ambulances are unable to respond to any further calls for assistance.
It’s a mess!
Then, amazingly, the Queen of Brobdingnag, Terresa Maybe appears on screen in a different report. The problems, she explains, the NHS is currently experiencing is due in part to GPs not working evenings or weekends!
Luggnagg meets Brobdingnag.
I think I shall relocate to the land of the Houyhnhnms. It’s feckin’ safer.
After breakfast we say our goodbyes to S and her man. Drive then into Brixham. Dee wants to see the place again, a nostalgia trip. She’d last visited in her teens with AN, a girls only camping holiday…very Sapphic, I’m sure (only kidding girls).
Dee tells of the transvestite artist they met there beside the harbour. An older guy. Diabetic, with an ulcerated leg. He invited them both back to his ‘artist’s garret’ to show them his collection of clothes. He asked the girls to try them on, which they did. He sketched away like mad as they shamelessly stripped and dressed in his offered finery. An intimate, almost immemorially pagan scene.
Then he asked AN if he could try on the top she’d been wearing. She agreed, but the top was far too small and his attempts ended in seem-stretching failure.
He explained his leg was ‘killing’ him and had to sit down. AN, very kindly, changed the dressing on his leg for him…
Dee and I sat outside a café in bright sunshine. The weather was totally different from yesterday’s. We’d left Cornwall in snow flurries. And now, sitting looking out across the harbour, I could feel the sun burning my face!
Dee said, ‘What a glorious sunshiny day! We’ve been so lucky.’
Finally, we drove home. I felt very second-hand to be honest. Slightly hungover and jaded. Cooking a meal last night for Dee and L, I was really running on empty. I managed a glass of wine, for myself, followed by a large brandy, but no food. I went to bed at eight-thirty and fell immediately fast asleep.
Uneasy dreams followed. They always do. Gigantic shadows of men and women entwining. Faces glowing scarlet-red with excitement. Ephemeral rooms, scattered with cushions. Laughter, gently mocking. Becoming harsher –
Then waking, thankfully, to this sombre dawn.
A new day begins –
January 9, 2017
Diary 9th January
Well, England’s finally found a solution to homelessness – put ‘em all in jail!
My heart says ‘Chocolate and wine’ but my jeans say ‘For the love of God, man, eat a feckin’ salad!’
Went to a city bistro last month, eat Irish vegetable tagine. Unusual, but nice. Although I must confess, I had no idea that traditional Irish cooking was so heavily into tagine usage? Also our waiter, I suspect, was either very, very clumsy or had been smoking the garden again. Know what I mean?
So what will 2017 hold for us all?
Scotland may finally attain its independence, or at least take the first faltering steps. Good for them.
Teresa Maybe will lead England and the rest of the UK off the edge of the Britex cliff and into freefall.
Donald Trump will be confronted by the four most aggressive revolutionary states (those nations pig-sick about the current status quo), Iran, North Korea, China and Russia (and no, there’s absolutely no truth that Trump and Putin will unite in a civil partnership – Vlad shares with no man!).
Our Don’s biggest challenge, of course, will be to accomplish anything at all. His near messianic belief in his own abilities will come up against Washington’s inherent abhorrence of change. I suspect I know already who will win.
December 9, 2016
Diary 9th December
Well, the circus continues. In the UK Britexit is challenged in the courts, in parliament and in the media. The Lib/Dems are dedicated to its overthrow – one way or another. Labour is, as always, uncertain.
There was a referendum, the people spoke and they decided to leave the EU.
Difficult result for me as a ‘remainer’. Sure, I’ve been one of the biggest critics of the EU in my time. It’s far from perfect, and almost impossible to reform. But I felt it’d be better to remain for a wide variety of reasons.
Now, all I keep hearing is politicians saying, ‘Yes, we respect the will of the people. We’re a democracy after all, BUT…and that BUT is a way for the political class to imply, ‘The electorate, bless ‘em, don’t know their arse from their elbow! We’ll do it again (the referendum, that is) until the idiots get it right!’
I have heard both Liberal and Labour politicians argue that the electorate did NOT know what they were voting for when they voted for exit. Really. This despite hundreds of hours of radio and TV programmes devoted to a political class that promised Armageddon if the UK exited the EU!
But it’s all about self-interest, of course. Not people. Nor democracy.
In the US, with the election of Trump, hysteria seems to have gripped large sections of the population. Or that’s the way it looks to little ol’ me, an outsider glancing in. The man isn’t yet in office, and the Trumpeter is treated as Der Trümpenführer. It’s as if a huge section of the American population have lost touch with reality.
Reminder: US Presidents CANNOT reverse Supreme Court decisions!
It’s true, boys and girls. Not Obergefell v. Hodges, nor Grutter v. Bollinger, nor any of the other important human rights decisions can be revoked – even if the Trumpeter managed to resurrect H Himmler from the buried dead, and appoint him to the Supreme Court. He couldn’t reverse these decisions without a hugely significant case coming before the courts with new facts, etc – which is unlikely to happen. And even if it did, they’d have to write an opinion stating how this case is different from the original case!
So a US President can’t repeal an existing law or write a new one.
Nor can a US President unilaterally make treaties with foreign nations.
Essentially, while US Presidents have a lot of power, it’s mostly unofficial – they can’t make sweeping laws, they can’t overturn existing rights, the most they can do is refuse to enforce laws – which would be a right royal pain in the arse all round. And I for one, don’t believe the Trumpeter wants to fall on his own sword just yet…So kittens, relax, deep breaths, the end of days is a way off yet. Give the man a chance…
Difficult times, full of contradiction and absurdity – however, nowhere near as much absurdity as during the Great Schism, usually dated to 1054, when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I in Constantinople excommunicated each other – a sort of patriarchal one up-manship between two knob-heads, leading to a split between eastern and western Christianity. In fact this mutual excommunication wasn’t lifted until 1965! How crazy is that?
I must get on, I’ve work to do…
October 1, 2016
You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.
The Man Who Was Thursday, a Nightmare
September 8, 2016
Some people give orders and the rest obey – wasn’t it Lenin who made that observation? In England, traditionally, we have a political class which forms our national government, and may consequently be termed a ‘ruling class’. The qualities required to join this ruling elite are as follows:
You’ll need to be able to speak reasonably grammatical English and to read from a tele-prompt screen (this last is essential). You must be happy spending your day lounging about in offices, restaurants, clubs or wine bars. Usually, you will be male ( although to be fair, out of 650 MP’s, we now have 191 female MP’s – which is a substantial increase over the 147 female MP’s in parliament pre the last general election! For many decades, remember boys and girls, female MP’s made up less than 5% of the total members of parliament). It used to be you would also have to be white, Anglo-Saxon, but since the 2001 general election when 12 black or ethnic minority members were elected to the house of Parliament, this has ceased to be the case; following the 2015 election we have a grand total of 41 BEM MPs, almost 6% of the total membership, but only a half-dozen or so of them female!
Anyhow, the above are simple base requirements. Having the ‘right’ parents will of course be a great asset. You don’t have to be a member of the nobility or gentry, but it will certainly help your case. Obviously, the ‘right’ education is essential – Eton remains by far the best bet! Although Harrow gave us, you’ll remember, Winston S Churchill, our most famous prime minister, painter and, slightly more controversially, warmonger and saviour.
Oxford or Cambridge are almost obligatory for a place in the ‘ruling class’. Other universities exist, of course, but their benefits are not so obvious, either to the electorate or, indeed, to other members of the ruling elite.
Of course, we live in a ‘democracy’. However, as others have pointed out before, in a true democracy the rulers would be chosen by lot for short stretches of time. Failing that, rather like current jury duty, ever single citizen would be eligible to serve in government for short periods, and would be selected at random for these duties. In England (or anywhere else come to that) this doesn’t happen. It doesn’t even happen in dear old Switzerland which is the one country in the world that comes closest to a true ‘democracy’!
Consequently, would be rulers everywhere must pass some ‘test’ beyond their personal greed, ambition or ability. Birth, class, wealth, colour, religion may each be one of the deciding factors in this selection depending on the society and those doing the selecting. This emerging minority will form the ‘power elite’ from which rulers will finally be selected. What we haphazardly and inaccurately call ‘democracy’ is simply a system whereby members of this power elite receive occasional popular endorsement from us, the people.
So, accepting the above. How does Jeremy Corbyn measure up to the criteria? Well, academically he’s put to shame by the two previous Labour party leaders and Prime Ministers: Tony Blair boarded at Fettes College, a prestigious independent school in Edinburgh, before studying jurisprudence at Oxford (St John’s college), while Gordon Brown was accepted at age sixteen by the university of Edinburgh, following ‘fast track’ education in Kirkcaldy High School. Mr Corbyn, on the other hand, attended Adam’s Grammar School in Shropshire, and later took a course in Trade Union Studies at North London Polytechnic but dropped out following arguments with his tutors.
His parents weren’t of the nobility or very wealthy, either. His mother was a maths teacher, his father an electrical engineer. However, what’s even worse, Mr Corbyn is teetotal; he will have to lounge about in bars with a glass of water in his hand! Unheard of for a politician in our parliamentary democracy! (In fact in a Daily Mirror interview, Mr Corbyn admitted that he does on occasion imbibe a little alcohol, ‘very, very little’).
The cabinet for 2014 / 15 comprised 60% Oxford graduates. And it’s not just the Conservative party; the Labour party, too, have a number of front rank people who have graduated from either Oxford or Cambridge. In fact Labour’s Yvette Cooper went to Balliol college Oxford, where she received a first class honours degree, went on to Harvard in the States, then finished off with a MSc at the London school of economics. Ed Milliband, of course, attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford. But the sobriquet “Red Ed” destroyed any possibility of him ever becoming prime minister.
Mr Corbyn stands now (or will do eventually) before the power elite demanding entrance and waving his two E-grade A-Levels in the air. Could it be any worse? Well, yes it could. Mr Corbyn might have been born an agricultural worker, in which case he’d have had to pack up any thought of politics as a career at the outset. Just poke that pair of A-Levels where the sun don’t shine, and get on and plough a field or two. As it is our elitist media have turned on him like a pack of ravenous hounds. He is not the ‘right kind’ of person!
Neil Kinnock, too, was a known left-winger within the Labour party. He did attend university, mind – the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire – unfortunately not Oxford! Undeterred by this obvious handicap, Mr Kinnock went on to replace Mr Foot as leader of the Labour party. He became the longest serving leader of the opposition in Britain’s history, and, of course, the longest never to have been prime minister. Following Labour’s fourth consecutive defeat in the 1992 general election, Mr Kinnock resigned as leader and resigned from the House of Commons three years later to become the European Union’s Transport Commissioner…this a sort of reward from the political elite after Mr Kinnock’s attempts to move the Labour party to the centre ground, moving away from absurd ideas and ideals, which included the nationalisation of failing industries, and his single-handedly defeating the extremists in Militant Tendency after their attempts to hijack the Labour brand!
Mr Kinnock, too, was not the right sort of person. But, for the ruling elite, he had a saving grace: he tried to move his party away from blatant Trotskyism towards the centre, towards policies that became known, ultimately, as Blairite.
Mr Corbyn, performing on that old, old hurdy-gurdy of left-wing theories, of nineteenth century solutions to twenty-first century problems, confidently waits for the swing of the pendulum that will carry him to greatness. He waits, not realising the grandfather clock has stopped ticking at one minute to midnight.
Yes, he will probably win the vote confirming him (again) as leader of the Labour party. But what will it gain him? He’s sixty-seven years of age. At the next general election he’ll have attained the grand age of seventy-one. Will he follow the template of Neil Kinnock, fighting and losing four general elections? In which case his final defeat will occur following his eighty-sixth birthday! By which time he’ll be older than William Ewart Gladstone who took office for the final time aged eighty-two. Why, even Palmerston when he assumed the office of prime minister for the first time was only seventy years of age!
Certainly Mr Corbyn will receive the enhanced salary of leader of the official opposition which will more or less double his MP’s salary of £74,000 pa! An amount not to be sniffed at, for sure. But his aims go beyond personal enrichment, of course they do. He wants his friends and supporters on the extreme left to gain control of the Labour brand. They want the kudos; they want, more importantly, the money that goes with it. To get this they must have the party.
Mr Corbyn, appreciating he will never win a general election, uses his position to carve the heart out of the existing parliamentary Labour party, filling it with the successors of Militant and returning the party to a time pre Neil Kinnock, where he can sing The Red Flag with the lads to his heart’s content. The purge of Militant left Mr Corbyn as one of the most left-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and he routinely found himself voting in opposition to official party policy during the Blair/Brown government. In fact, he defied the Labour whip a total of 428 times during the thirteen years between 1997 and 2010.
His personal objectives are indistinguishable from those of Militant. Re-nationalization of the railways and energy companies, confiscatory taxation, price and rent controls, maximum wage, unilateral disarmament; his agenda is about a huge shift of power away from individuals and the private sector and back to the state. His choice of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell wants to nationalize the banks. Militant’s current-day guise, The Socialist Party, supported his bid for the leadership and raised the prospect of them rejoining Labour to “form a new party”.
“Because you are from the people, because you are of the people, because you live with the same realities as everybody else lives with, implausible promises don’t win victories. I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs…”
Words of Mr Kinnock that Mr Corbyn and his party would do well to remember. But no, Mr Corbyn will not win a general election. He is not the right sort of person. Not part of the smart boys club. He is a man of nineteenth century ideas, floundering in a world of technology and globalisation. He’s unacceptable to the political elite, to the media, and to the majority of the British people.
April 6, 2016
Diary 6th April
Sure the hogs are troughing…Yet the media (and most politicians) carry on as if this is a big surprise to them? Sure they should know the nature of pigs, shouldn’t they?
Orwell recognised the potential of pigs to do harm in society: Napoleon emerged the leader after the Animal Farm insurrection, if you recall…and his porky underling, Squealer spread lies supported by false statistics to justify and rationalise their porcine behavior…their feckin’ greed!
Napoleon is totally corrupt. He shows no interest in Animal Farm itself, only in his power over it and its inhabitants.
In much the same way, the behavior of the rich and super rich, exposed by the recent release of confidential papers from the office of Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, should come as no great surprise: pigs like to trough; rich men like to avoid wealth reduction. What the hell’s new in that?
If the documents obtained and analysed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) are to be trusted, a total of 128 politicians and public officials around the world have had dealings with Messrs Mossack & Fonseca.
So now, suddenly, the media is awash with stories of corruption, tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering. The individuals involved will wait patiently for the hubbub of exposure to die down – for die down it surely will. A few may suffer minor damage from these revelations about their financial affairs, but for the vast majority it’ll be business as usual (resigning from one well paid position to take up another is inconvenient, perhaps, but hardly a major punishment).
Ah, if I was a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
But what of the millions of mums, dads, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, teachers, nurses, postmen, wage-slaves, eh? The disabled, the disadvantaged? What of them? The ‘ordinary’ people whose lives are more difficult, because money is being siphoned away from the services they rely on, in order to line the pockets of some of the world’s wealthiest feckin’ people?
Ah, sure, these are the people too easily forgotten in all the media hype, hypocrisy and condemnation…And within the UK, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer can stand up and defend a decision to scrap an official analysis that shows how much money his budgets take from the poor and give to the rich, then troughing is given official sanction, is it not?
Pigs in a trough, snouts twitching.
How did that song go?
‘Money don’t get everything it’s true
What it don’t get I can’t use:
I want MONEY (that’s what I want)…’
March 21, 2016
Diary 21st March
Almost every year the Government of the UK spends more than it raises in tax. Currently the “deficit” is £1.56 trillion. This equates to 81.58% of total GDP. The interest the Government has to pay on this debt £43 billion.
There is much confusion between the above National Debt and the Government Budget Deficit. The current Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has pledged to produce a budget surplus when the economy is growing. Any reduction in the Government Budget Deficit will not impact on the National debt as outlined above, which is set to continue to grow over the next few years at least. This Government Budget Deficit is a snapshot of how the country’s finances are doing in any one year. The National debt takes into account what has happened in the past.
If anyone, politician or otherwise, tells you “the debt has fallen” they’re lying or mistaken. It hasn’t.
An easy way to compare debt levels across different countries is to express debt as a percentage of total economic output, or GDP, which is why you’ll hear commentators regularly talk about the debt-to-GDP ratio. Obviously this has risen sharply since 2007.
Currently the UK’s National debt expressed as GDP is lower than France’s, Germany’s, Belgium’s, the Netherlands, Italy’s or Japan’s…So, yes, our debt is going up, but it’s still lower than it’s been for many years this century, and it’s a damn site lower than in many other similar sized economies. Just 6p in every pound of spending went on paying off debt last year, compared to 8p in 1996.
Certain politician’s like to compare the UK’s budgetary arrangements to an individual’s household management. This, of course, is crap. If, for example, a householder cuts down on their supermarket spend, they don’t have to worry about what happens to the supermarket. But if the government decides to economise by cuts in the building of new schools and hospitals, they don’t simply get a straightforward saving. There are knock-on effects that can be more damaging to the economy than the benefits of the cut to the public finances.
What is certain is that cuts in public finances will reduce economic growth. So the best way to cut the deficit is to encourage growth, not cut benefit payments to the disabled or disadvantaged. Which is not only wrong, it’s morally reprehensible.
Why is the UK government doing this?
The real reason has a lot to do with ideology: the Tories are using the Government Budget Deficit as an excuse to downsize the welfare state. But the official rationale is that there is no alternative to this, which is, of course, bollox.
Another deficit myth is ‘the burden on future generations’ – ‘we leave this huge debt for our children to repay’. More bolloxs. Provided the debt is mainly held by British citizens (as it is currently), there is no net loss of income from any debt repayment: “it is a matter of future taxpayers repaying future bondholders.”
Thus endeth the lesson.
“Right-of-centre think tank Policy Exchange has called for an £800 road tax levy on diesel cars…”
Ha ha ha…Good luck with that one, mates!
‘Air pollution is overwhelmingly a diesel problem,’ said Policy Exchange’s Richard Howard. ‘On average they emit six times more NOx than the latest petrol vehicles…’
Yeah, I know and I wouldn’t own a diesel car if you paid me. The EU are looking at the problem and no doubt will come up with similar proposals. But it’ll be a bloody brave UK government to whack-up road tax to 800 squid!
Madonna’s in the news for exposing a fan’s tits at her Brisbane concert the other day. At least she didn’t show off her own. We should all be grateful for these small mercies…