30 April, 2011

Match Report

Well, the choir sang, Harry didn’t forget the ring, the bride looked lovely and everyone turned up exactly on time as if they had their own personal sergeant-major balling at them (of which more later).

From what I saw and from what we learn from the media the service went perfectly, well designed, beautifully organised. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of people will have seen how well we do these things. The contadini in my local bar were fascinated.

But – did you feel a tiny ‘but’? I’m sorry to strike a critical note but it seemed to me a display by a nation which wanted you to know its best years were behind it. Somebody, Charles I think, arrived in a car Winston Churchill might have travelled in; so old you weren’t sure it would make it up the Mall. Its suspension was so weakened from years of carrying fattened dictator guests that the back seemed almost to be touching the ground. And after a fly past by planes from the Second World War, his newly married son left the Palace in a 40 year old Aston Martin.

Many of the troops weren’t even motorised, even though the car was invented over 100 years ago, but rode on horseback – in the middle of London! – harking back to the glory days when we went into battle against the fuzzy wuzzies with high visibility red tunics and sabres drawn.

Why? Why is the Royal Family so obsessed with the military, and the military of a century ago? Why did Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward (who is a film director), Prince Michael of Kent and even the octogenarian Prince Philip have to turn up in military uniform? I believe it is because our Head of Sate was born in the 1920s, to parents born in the 19th century (by contrast the Prime Minister is not yet 45 years old, nor are the leaders of the other two main parties). In the Queen’s circle, among her class, elder sons ran the estate and younger ones went into the military or the Church.

Princess Diana (and I confess I didn’t have much time for her) used to complain that while she took her children to concerts and theme parks, Charles used to show them how to kill animals. The Monarchy doesn’t need more light shining on it, as some claim, but the dust swept up before the light is turned on.

Monarchists are claiming that the marriage of William and Kate will breathe new life into the monarchy, but that has to mean something. It doesn’t have to mean the Royal Family living like us (they are not like us, and nor should they necessarily be) but that they have moved a little with the times, that they are on the same planet. And, if they are to represent our country, they must represent a country from the 21st century.

If the couple’s union is blessed there will be, beneath the Queen, three generations waiting in line. I know people are worried about what Prince Charles would be like in the top job, and it probably would be a bit of a roller coaster, but I am certain he ought to start now, so Prince William can become king in his fifties and, with a lot of help, coax Britain into looking like a modern country.

In my opinion they should all go, but at the very least, if the monarchy is to survive, Her Majesty should abdicate on her Diamond Jubilee.

29 April, 2011

Best wishes

Best wishes to the happy couple. If I could give them a present which would make their lives better and happier, I would. A republic.

Rather than turn up in the uniform of a junior officer in the RAF, it turns out that William is also a colonel in the Guards, so that’s OK.

I’d have been a bit reluctant to take the title Duke of Cambridge. The first one, in 1664, died young and childless. The second one, his brother, did too.

The third Duke became George II, not a great thing to have on your cv; the next was the seventh son of George III, a non-entity, but he did better than the last, his son, who following the titular tradition died childless.

My lack of knowledge of Royal etiquette means I don’t understand why, if he is a prince, and she’s married him, she isn’t a princess. But there, she’s a Duchess, which is good enough to be going on with

28 April, 2011

Royal Wedding: Those tributes in full

From our man in the Union Jack porkpie hat, accredited to the BBC (No. 31,428)

Prince William : I mean, like, if she won’t agree to obey why should I marry her? Who does obey me anyway?

Mr Middleton: We thought something small and simple, country church, egg sandwiches...

Prince Harry: Will there be enough to drink?

Tony Blair: I never wanted to go anyway

Syrian Ambassador: if Tony Blair isn’t going, I’m not

Gordon Brown: Eh, my government strongly promoted this marriage which is a victory for socialism and the policies... what do you mean, ‘not invited’?

Prince Harry: Hic!

Duke of Edinburgh: seems like an attractive filly, very nice ****

Her Majesty the Queen: to say how delighted we are that whoever he is will be married to whoever she is. I thought she had an annus horribilis..

Prince William: I mean, like, just incredible...

Princess Anne: don’t worry, William, marriage is only for a couple of years

Prince of Wales: She seems... organic, somehow

Duchess of Cornwall: Shut up you gaga old fool and finish your jelly

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: In view of recent disturbances in Berkshire Her Majesty’s Government feel that the presence of Miss K Middleton at the wedding ceremony would not be conducive to the public wellbeing...Bunty, have we got this right?

24 April, 2011

Royal Wedding: The Runners and Riders (2)

Also tucking in to a square meal will be Gabriel Machinga, the Zimbabwean Ambassador.

This really has been a triumph for the Foreign Office.


Happy Easter to everyone. This is about as late as it comes - the final posible date is 25th Apil, and that last happened in 1886. It will next happen in 2038.

Royal Wedding: The Runners and Riders

Among invitees to the Royal Wedding are Margaret Thatcher and John Major, but not Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

In the queue for the complimentary hot dogs will be Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain, whose regime has been accused of imprisoning doctors who were treating protesters.

I never know quite what to make of this sort of thing, save as confirmation of my long held view that the British Foreign Office should be closed down in the national interest.

STOP PRESS: The really good egg can't make it, busy as he is with oppressing the people the disturbances.


The caretaker government in Lisbon has granted public administrtion workers an extra half day holiday so they could leave early for the Easter weekend.

People who will not be taking the holiday are the guys - mostly non-Portuguese - working over the Easter holiday to produce a rescue package for the country thought to be worth €80 bn.

They will be reflecting that there is further to go than they thought. This is a point I have often made: the root of Portugal's problems is appallingly low productivity. The solution to that is not more loans, and it isn't more holidays either.

23 April, 2011

St George

23rd April is St. George's Day.

Except that it isn't.

This year we are celebrating the patron saint of England on 2nd May.

Most people don't bother anyway

Libyan losses

Admiral Mike Mullen, the most senior American serviceman, in announcing the provision of new weaponry to the conflict, says that Nato forces have destroyed 30-40% of Gaddafi’s ground forces.

I think it is worth pondering this figure. In the eighteen years of the Vietnam war, America lost around 2% of the personnel serving in South Vietnam.

30-40% is a huge figure, which goes far beyong the protection of civilian life. It means we have taken sides and it means that we have part-ownership of this war, and therefore of its result and of its consequences.

In my view we will regret this.

22 April, 2011

Good Friday

I feel a little confused when people send me greetings of 'Happy Easter' on Good Friday. First, it is not Easter - quite the reverse in the technical sense - and second it is not a day, if you are religious, to be happy and of course quite irrelevant if you are not.

On Easter Day I used to collect eggs from the local farmer who would boom 'The Lord is Risen, Timothy' to which I had to reply 'He is risen indeed, Stuart', before he handed them over.

He still wanted money for them, though.

Thanks, though for best wishes received. Altrettanto, as we say here.

Cluster munitions

We are hearing that Colonel Gaddafi – the swine! – has used cluster bombs in the West of Libya. Human Rights Watch says it is ‘appalled’. The bombs were made in Spain.

A cluster bomb is a bomb with a lot of little bombs inside it. I first heard of them during the Falklands War, where RAF bombers were able to stop the Argentineans using an airstrip by making a lot of little holes in it, taking a long time to repair. Rather a good wheeze, I thought. Now the do-gooders have got in on the act, and cluster bombs were banned by a convention three years ago.

So they have joined pistols, which can’t be used by ordinary British people, even the Olympic Team, and landmines which can’t be used by the British Army when digging in, as weapons which can only be owned by the bad guys.

Libya did not sign the convention, nor did China, Russia or the US.

It is hard to label the do-gooders who got us into this, other than with the word ‘Blairite’. It seems they quite like wars, as long as nothing horrid goes on.

But it does. That’s why so many of us prefer to think before getting into one.

21 April, 2011

The Dress Code

Either the Prime Minister reads this blog, or the Royal Family threatened to treat him as a passing mendicant ('..and don't spend it on drink..'), but he will now be properly attired for the Royal Wedding.

This excerpt has left him looking foolish.

Lesson 1: only fight battles you can win.

Lesson 2: only fight battles where winning would do you some good.

20 April, 2011

The President: a rethink

Clint Eastwood
Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to Newsweek, is being advised to run for the EU Presidency. His chief of staff is reported to have said  'In the next few years, the EU will be looking for a much more high-profile president -somebody who can unify Europe.'

Well, you can see the problem immediately, can't you? He sounds too German, and the smaller nations just aren't going to have it.

H van Rompuy
A far better candidate would be Clint Eastwood. You can just imagine him spitting out his cigar and saying throatily

'What the hell's Europe?'

Well, it's a question we are going to have to answer sooner or later.

What should I wear?

David Cameron's announcement that he will not wear a tie for the royal wedding could be the right decision. The important thing, for men at least, at these occasions, is to conform, which is why in the military and in school the dress is called a uniform.

So as long as he has confirmed that the Earl Marshall of England will be going in a tracksuit, and the Garter King of Arms will be in jeans and trainers, this blog says 'right on, Dave'.

Failing that it says 'Don't be such a prat.'

Here we go

Faced with a stalemate in Libya, the Government announces it will be sending 10 'mentors'. This is not of course tantamount to offering military assistance, 'boots on the ground', oh no. But they will be military, they will be on the ground and will of course be wearing boots.

So what will they 'mentor' or advise on? Cookery? Electricity production from photovoltaic cells? Park maintenance? I don't think so.

This is the first sign of 'mission creep', inevitable from the day we decided to intervene in someone else's war.

18 April, 2011

One forward gear

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest – Paul Simon

The accountants are down in Lisbon. It’s a nice time of year to be there, with the breeze blowing off the sea and the beautiful people hopping on and off their trams as they grind up the hill. What are they going to find? Will it be (a) things are much as we expected (b) no problems, really, far better than we thought or (c) Oh God! They never told us about..... Make a little bet with yourself.

A deal will be stitched together for Portugal, not dissimilar to that for Greece: some austerity measures and some more loans, like giving a bottle of whisky to an alcoholic and remarking that at least he has stopped sweating. Of course the Portuguese have already democratically rejected an austerity package, which didn’t look all that tough. How are they going to react to one imposed by an outside power? These are people who can still remember Dr Salazar, and cherish their democracy and their independence.

How has it gone for Greece, about a year after the bailout was announced? Not too good, I’m afraid. The markets are certain that Greece must default, this year or next year. What we mean by default here is that rather than saying they can’t repay their debt and borrowing more, they actually agree not to pay some of it back. It seems Greece will have to write off more than half its debt.

Who owns this debt? Who is going to take the haircut?

Greek banks own €80 billion. A €40 billion loss will pretty well bankrupt them, which means they will need...... oh, yes, more debt. The European Central Bank owns a good €50 billion which will weaken it fatally. Of course the ECB can’t go bust, it just calls for more capital from its members. It is doubtful whether given the other dodgy debts on the ECB books that Italy and Spain can afford to pay their share, meaning... oh, yes, more debt. The rest, over €200 billion, is owned by European banks, particularly German.

How so? Well, banks have to provide capital to back their lending and different amounts of capital are required for different types of lending. The worst category is making unsecured loans to private individuals. Then, rather less capital is required for mortgages, where the bank has security. Obviously a certain amount of the bank’s assets have to be in the top category, which would be sovereign debt: European sovereign debt.

Now, the regulators aren’t stupid people. They became aware some time ago that the debts of peripheral Europe were only worth 80 cents on the dollar and that Greece and Portugal were only worth 60 cents on the dollar. They considered making new capital requirements, but the answers were too horrid. So they buried their heads in the sand.

German banks alone have over €200 billion of loans to peripheral European countries, loans which really should be written down, and billions more capital provided. But they can’t. So when they announced the ‘stress tests’ for the banking system they ignored the issue. This is as much a crisis of European banking as of sovereign debt, and even if all you can see in front of you is sand it doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there.

But it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good and there are some people who see an upside here. In attaching conditions to the bailouts, the budgets of these countries will be decided by the European Commission and the ECB. They will be colonies of Brussels. Wherever the problem lies, these people assert, the solution is more European integration.

So how did we get here, with previously independent democracies suddenly governed by a superstate? You have to remember that the economies of Greece, Portugal and Spain are almost moribund (I exclude Ireland here which simply allowed a property bubble to exist: the underlying economy wasn’t bad). They are so fantastically inefficient, particularly in relation to Germany, that they were always going to go bust at the exchange rate fixed by Frankfurt, and unless steps are taken to change their competitiveness they always will be. And the political elites knew this: they’re not stupid. They knew that sooner or later a crisis would develop to which the answer would be more political integration. This is why I often say that the euro was conceived in dishonesty. Damn the little people, full steam ahead with integration!

It is my hope that the Greeks or Portuguese will finally say No, we don’t want to be governed by others, we want to be free.

Now that will be interesting.

16 April, 2011

Death of a pawn

The short, tragic life of Vittorio Arrigoni carries, I think, lessons for us all.

Arrigoni was not a Muslim, nor an Arab, but decided to join up in support of Hamas in Gaza, the good folk who position children round the gun installations and last week targeted a missile attack on a school bus.

Arrigoni was captured by The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohamed bin Muslima, a breakaway group which feels Hamas is too soft. Pussycats.

His captors said he would be released in return for Sheikh Hisham Su’idani, who had been arrested by Hamas.

When they found Mr. Arrigoni he had been killed some hours before the deadline.

So this young man died fighting he knew not whom, in a war which was not his own. The lesson for us is clear: they don’t want us to get involved. The Cameron-Blair-Obama philosophy of Liberal Interventionism, or whatever euphemism we are using today for involving ourselves in other people’s wars, needs to be rethought.

And abandoned.

14 April, 2011

Tragedy for the poor

The Government has announced an increase in the minimum wage, starting from next October. We can only assume that they have completely lost the plot.

It means this: as the economy slowly picks up, and companies are looking cautiously to take on more workers, they cannot take on an employee for some menial task for less than about £1,000 a month, even if the employee is happy to work for that wage.

The poor guy, trying to do the best for himself and not claim on the government, will just have to stay on the dole, right when we needed him to be working.

Well done, Osborne, your Economics badge is in the post.

11 April, 2011

US Budget deal

It seems they have cobbled together a budget in America, so the whole country won’t grind to a halt.

The agreement cuts $38 billion off government expenditure. Seems like a lot until you consider the Federal Debt Ceiling will still have to be raised from its existing $14.25 trillion. The deal seems to be more political than economic but must have been tense. The Republicans lost a lot of support after Clinton faced them down the previous time, but with an agreement, and a reduction, they seem to have come out on top.

This blog supports anyone who gains popularity at the expense of Barack Obama, even if it is the comedy turn of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

How to use a 'phone

Much has been said about the ‘phone hacking’ allegations against the News of the World, and I think a little bit of light needs to be shone in here.

First, as I have said before, this is not hacking ( I have this on the authority of someone who would know). What the perpetrators did was wait for a time when the phone owner was talking or the ‘phone was turned off, and dial the number. If you then insert a code the system gives you your messages, thinking the caller is the owner. Most people leave their codes at 0000 or 1234 as set by the factory.

In particular two points have to be made: firstly, that if the News of the World was doing it, it was almost certain that other papers were doing it, too. Second, if you are a public figure or someone who deals in confidential information and you are so stupid as to not to change your messages code you deserve everything you get.

The gravy train

Euro MPs have voted down three proposals which would have reduced the cost of the European Parliament to the hard pressed European taxpayer. The first was that for flights of less than four hours they should fly economy class, a measure taken some time ago by business. Indeed many businesses insist on executives flying by a budget airline. The irony is that most MEPs fly budget airlines, but of course claim the expenses of British Airways or Lufthansa.

The second proposal was that there should be a freeze on MEPs’ pay and allowances in 2012. No, they didn’t like that.

The third was that they should cease claiming for being in the parliament and travelling to or from it at the same time. Who could possibly find fault with that?

Each MEP costs around €500,000 a year in salaries and allowances.

Don’t be surprised at this. These people feather their own nests and don’t see anything wrong with using our money to do so. They see themselves, the political elite, as being different to you and me.

The question to ask is how we allowed ourselves to be duped into joining this.

07 April, 2011


The House and the Senate have to agree on a budget by tomorrow or the Federal Government will have no powers to spend money.

Pity we didn't have this system in England ten years ago


I have just got around to reading the article in the Washington Post by Judge Richard Goldstone.

The Goldstone Report, you will remember, was a UN investigation into the military targeting of civilians in the war between Israel and Hamas in 2008-9.

‘If I had known then what I know now’ says the penitent jurist, ‘The Goldstone Report would have been a different document’. He admits that he had no evidence that Israel had targeted civilians, and is impressed at the way Israel investigates reports of civilian deaths. He says “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza’

Goldstone, however, confirms in respect of Hamas ‘That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets’

You may remember the way the lefty media, particularly the BBC, reported all this: that there were ‘crimes against humanity committed by Israel’ (they often forgot to mention the little peccadilloes of Hamas). I was just wondering if they would care to apologise for their coverage.

Don’t hold your breath, though.

Sweet Micky 2

Couldn't resist offering one of Sweet Micky's hits, without the..er..physical bits. I thought it rather good

06 April, 2011

Sweet Micky

Congratulations to Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly, who has been elected President of Haiti. I say ‘congratulations’ somewhat half-heartedly because he is facing one hell of a job.

Haiti has not recovered from the earthquake which struck it 15 months ago. Tens of thousands are still living in temporary camps, and more than 4,000 have died of cholera. Massive amounts of aid were promised at an international conference a year ago, but hardly any has been spent. The new President needs to make things work: to get his people safe and to get the economy, such as it is, ticking over again.

Sweet Micky is, by profession, a kompa singer, a particular Haitian sort of jazz music. His act was to appear in drag, and bare his bottom to the audience.

He will need all these skills and, dare I say it, more in the years to come.

05 April, 2011


The UK’s Ministry of Defence has announced that there will be 2,600 redundancies among serving personnel over the next six months and a personnel reduction (mostly by redundancy) of 17,000 by April 2015.

There will, of course, be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth; historic tradition, camaraderie, commitments to NATO, punching above our weight in the world, da da da da.

However, I am tempted to see this in a positive light. The last figures I have, for August 2010, show 194,440 regular troops, 39,420 volunteer forces and 191,300 regular reserves. That makes just over 425,000 military, which with our sophisticated kit and fourth largest military defence budget in the world, gives us the second highest power projection capability in the world, after America.

This is far, far too high. Indeed it is a wonder we have allowed the euphemism ‘Defence’ at all: it is an attack force, a power projection force, and we can’t afford it, even if it were desirable to have it, which I doubt.

There is a proviso, though. One of the reasons I don’t own a screwdriver is so that no one asks me to do any repairs or ‘do it yourself’. You cannot, however make dramatic cuts to military personnel while continually engaging in these foreign adventures, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. It is like me developing a passion for putting up shelves.

Against that, 17,000 would be a cut of 4%, which doesn’t look awful.

04 April, 2011

Here he comes!

Speaking, as I was earlier on, about 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man', who should emerge from the woodwork obscurity but Crown Prince Mohammad el-Senussi.

If you thought Senussi was an Italian washing machine, think again! It is the family name of Libya's one and only king, Idris, and Mohammad is his great nephew.

He is coy about accepting the top job but is 'ready to serve'.

Naturally, the last thing anyone in the West would want is to influence in any way the government Libya chooses after Gaddafi, good gracious me no, but I do hope the good folk can be steered away from monarchy

What about interim, temporary president, a role we might also earmark for Prince Charles.

Sir Frank Lampl 1926-2011

Frank Lampl was Chairman of Bovis, the construction firm in the 1980s and 1990s. I knew him quite well for a time.

He had been imprisoned in Auschwitz and Dachau as a teenager, and then was forced to work in Stalin's uranium mines after the war. It was only recently I found out that he took medicine every day to keep the nightmares at bay.

He escaped to England, joined Bovis and made it to the top.

I never knew anyone who didn't like him. He was very decent to me, a junior manager in a bank, when he really didn't need to be.

Good guy

Cometh the hour...

"Have you heard the latest survey? It seems that they asked girls between the ages of 23 and 30 whether they would sleep with Berlusconi. 30% said yes, the other 70% said 'again?'"

There is an old saying in the British Army that a joke is only as funny as the rank of the teller is exalted, but this was told by the great man himself, to a pack of adoring reporters (they may not agree with his politics but they won't deny he's good copy).

Berlusconi seems more relaxed, possibly as a result of his new policy of attending court, confronting his accusers head-on. My guess, though, is that this is not just a political manoeuvre: this is a change from denouncing an attack on his party, the PdL, to a defence of Berlusconi the individual. He must realise now that he cannot stand again as Prime Minister without pulling the rug from under the Centre-Right. Cannot stand, that is, as long as there is a credible figure from the Centre Right to replace him. Hitherto there has not been.

But there may be now. He's aristocratic, good  looking, articulate, well connected and has an impeccable record in industry. He is the former Chairman of FIAT and former President of Confindustria, the employers' federation. He is current Chairman of Ferrari, which is a job most men wouldn't mind having, and his cousin is a cardinal. Step forward Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who is considering forming his own party.

Some commentators will be thinking this may be the answer to the great question of Italian politics: what comes after Berlusconi?

03 April, 2011

Northern Ireland

Non Brits often ask about Northern Ireland, usually in some form like 'How can you justify holding on to a colony in this day and age, against the will of the people?'

Of course, it isn't against the will of the people, and that's the problem. Successive governments for nearly a century would have been delighted to hand the Province over to someone else, Sudan for example, but the people stubbornly insist on remaining British.

Just to recap, there was a series of terrorist outbreaks even during the First World War, when we would rather have had our security forces elsewhere. The Irish Republican Army, or IRA, became a name on the lips of every British subject. In 1922 we handed over the large part of the island to an independent state, whilst six counties in the north insisted on remainng British. Some republlicans (Catholics) went against the Treaty and insisted on maintaining a claim to the North as well. Things blew up again in 1969 and the people of the North existed in a living hell of terrorist outrage. The IRA had largely given up and it was the Provisional IRA which was committing the outrages.

In 1998 we, the Irish Republic and most politicians signed the Good Friday Agreement. Many people, myself included, warned that there didn't seem to be enough involvement of all the militant groups, nor proof they had given up their weapons, but Tony Blair, you may recall, felt the 'hand of history' on his shoulder.

By this time the militant score was: IRA (retired); Provisional IRA (put down their arms); Real IRA (still active); Continuity IRA (still active); Irish National Liberation Army (still active); and several spin-off groups. It will be one of this lot, or another group, which murdered the young policeman in Omagh this weekend.

It is like the Hydra in Greek mythology, which, each time it had one of its heads hacked off, grew two more. Each time we have given in, in return for peace, a new section has sprung up and we are back to square one. We have handed over the large part of the Island, and in 1998 we allowed terrorists to enter a regional administration.

I have heard only two sensible suggestions about Northern Ireland. The first was that at the time we handed over Hong Kong we should have granted residence to all HK Chinese, but just in Northern Ireland. The principle was that the Chinese gangs and brotherhoods were so much more aggressive than the IRA that they would keep things quiet.

The second suggestion is that of the 1.8 million inhabitants, the level of Catholics is now over 40% and is growing at a higher rate than the Protestant population. We wait until the Catholics have passed 50%, call a referendum, and let the South cope with protestant terrorism.

Can't wait.

Cricket World Cup

The story was rather written in advance for the Cricket World Cup Final: the finest batsman in the world, Sachin Tendulkar, pitted against the finest bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan. It didn't quite happen like that: the one-day format is different, and Murali had only ten overs to spin his magic, while Tendulkar didn't have time for his lomg, controlled game. There was plenty of excitement, though, and plenty of nail biting.

What really stood out for me was the spirit in which the game was played. In the post match press conference the Sri Lankan captain, Kumar Sangakkara didn't blame the umpires or the organisers (this is not football), he just stood up like a gentleman and congratulated the Indian team, saying they had played better than his side.

A word should be said also about the semi-final between India and Pakistan. These two countries have been virtually at war for 60 years but the supporters did not fight, they enjoyed what was an excellent game, played in the best spirit.

Cricket has done a lot for peace on the Indian sub-continent: lovely people, lovely manners, lovely game.

01 April, 2011

Urbi et Orbi

Our message to the world on the Feast of All Fools

Dearly beloved

We suppose we must call you that, although clearly some are a fair bit more beloved than others. Anyway, listen up.

You continue to be governed by a group of venal incompetents unprecedented in history. Half of you are bankrupt without knowing it and there is scarcely anything about the world we live in which is better than it was five years ago.

We want you to think about your rulers on this, their Feast Day.

In America, the man who came to power looking like a Messiah has turned out to be a busted flush. His unpopularity made itself felt in Congressional elections last year. He has lost control of the House of Representatives and has a tiny majority in the Senate. The confusion as to whether the President or the Congress is in charge of the recession means that proposals for monetary expansion and contraction are bandied around at the same time. The economy is like a monopoly player who wants to carry on buying houses but has run out of money.

At the next Presidential Election the people are likely to go for someone who is boring, not a gifted speaker and doesn’t know everything about everything. There’s plenty to choose from.

The Far East was like a huge toothy grin from the direction of the rising sun until they discovered their major customers had no more money. The exception was Japan, where the economy was moribund anyway. The Japanese needed a reason to repatriate large sums of money to invest in their own country, and now they have got it. The earthquake / tsunami / nuclear disaster has shown Japanese management to be the lying, handwringing, incompetent responsibility dodgers many of us already knew. What they need is to borrow some different people from abroad.

Europe has got itself into an unnecessary war which will soon become unpopular. As the dole queues lengthen they are pumping out missiles at $500,000 a go in order to allow one set of corrupt shysters in Libya to take over from another set. We have been pleased to see the involvement in this conflict of Belgium, which whilst having no common language and no government has a couple of spare F-16s lying around to shoot at the towelheads. Belgium’s presence makes the war seem truly ridiculous. Ireland went bust trying to bail out its banks, which had been involved in an unregulated free-for-all. It has now discovered it needs a further €24 billion to get them up to snufter, around an extra €4,000 per head of population. Germany has decided it doesn’t like bailing out less diligent members of the eurozone but can’t face seeing them go under. They are beginning to learn what happens to you if you sit on a fence for too long. France seems to have decided to ditch its President next year in favour of someone even more statist and inward looking. Britain has an unpopular government nobody voted for and is about to start feeling the pinch, while believing it has already felt it. Italy’s Prime Minister is likely to be spending a fair bit of time in court, and without leadership the country’s future looks no worse than it did before.

The Middle East will have to abandon feudalism this year and the results will be messy and expensive.

Africa looks as if different sized countries (the Maghreb, Sudan) will be ruling it next year, but led by the same corrupt elite.

So much for lousy leadership. Perhaps the world should empower people’s committees to run things, although that was the philosophy espoused by Muammar Gaddafi.

And look what happened to him.

God help you all.