22 November, 2013


For much of this year I have not been able to devote as much time as I should have liked to this blog and I feel it would be best to suspend it while I pursue a couple of other projects.

Thanks to everyone who has read it. I hope to be back in the New Year


18 November, 2013

Monkey business

The Rev. Paul Flowers, head of the ethical Co-op Bank, has been caught buying crystal meth and cocaine.

The radio sternly reminded us that he had been receiving £130,000 a year from his Co-op members.

What? how much was Bob Diamond on at Barclays? £8 million?

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

15 November, 2013

Double standards

There's been a frightful amount of nonsense about David Cameron gong to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Conference. The Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada have stayed away.

Sri Lanka has a poor record on what I suppose we must call 'human rights' and there is little or no freedom of the press.

Awful? Cameron has just been to China, for Heaven's sake, which has a far worse record, stretched over a longer period and inflicted on vastly more people. When he was brown nosing the corrupt, undemocratic cabal which lead that benighted country, did anyone say he ought to have stayed away?

Sri Lanka at least has proper elections.

14 November, 2013

Happy Birthday

It is Prince Charles' 65th birthday today, and he will spend it at the Commonwealth Conference. This event is no less ridiculous than it always was, but given renewed importance as we desperately search for someone other than the bankrupt EU to buy our exports.

It is telling that at the age most people retire, we are still waiting to see if Charles will live long enough to get the job. This blog hopes he does.

12 November, 2013

New flag

The BBC reports that a misprinted Union Flag was flying near the Cenotaph in Manchester

I think it looks rather good. We need a new design if Scotland leaves the UK and this could be it.

07 November, 2013


Today would have been the 100th birthday of Nobel Prize winning novelist and philosopher Albert Camus. In fact he died in a car crash in 1960.

Whilst most commentators attach the 'Philosophy of the Absurd' to him, he was rather one of the great humanists, a socialist like his one-time friend Sartre, but who argued with Soviet Russia's Labour camps and the enforced starvation in the Ukraine. His argument with Sartre over whether the philosophy of socialism was worth the appalling suffering was one of the great philosophical duels of he 20th century. His analysis of the Manichean undesirability of two Powers, the USA and Russia, in many ways defined the Cold War.

He was only 46 when he died.

Spanish practices

It is reported that 87.8% of Spanish voters have little or no trust in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

What helps him sleep at night is that 91.3% have little or no trust in his opponent Afredo Perez Rubalcaba.

Sharia money

David Cameron has announced that the Government would issue Sukuk bonds, that is to say debt instruments which comply with Islamic Sharia Law. Interestingly, the number of sukuk issued has fallen dramatically of late, after an influential Imam pronounced many of them invalid. You have to get the terms just right.

What interests me is what happens if there is a dispute: does the UK Government have to submit to foreign religious courts?

That would be an interesting development.

Get away....

The delightfully named Soren Bo Sondergaard, a Danish MEP, has written in a report that some of the EU funds designated for rebuilding the city of l'Aquila after the earthquake in 2009 may have gone to companies with ties to organised crime.

Imagine, Soren! (or is it Bo?). Corruption! In Italy!

Even more surprisingly, Brussels has denied it, not believing that such a thing could happen.

It really does make you wonder.

05 November, 2013

Lies, damned lies....

The CBI has put out a paper saying the benefit to the UK of being in Europe is between 4% and 5% of UK GDP, or between £62 billion and £78 billion.

So that's it, then. Nice and precise, these are the guys who know, question answered.

Unfortunately it's drivel.

The figure was taken from a digest of other figures which are themselves dubious: many decided on what the answer was and set out to prove it.The CBI itself has always been vigorously in favour of the European ideal and not so long ago was telling us we would be tragically left behind if we didn't join the euro. We're not hearing too much of that any more.

And there is no analysis of what would happen if we left: the savings in the contributions we make, the elimination of swathes of bureaucracy, just the stale, idiot assumption that Europeans would no longer buy our goods even though we bought plenty of theirs.

Much of what you read about the European debate is rubbish, but if it comes from the CBI, assume it's 100% wrong.


A short holiday in Calabria, one of Italy's wildest regions.

There are some places well worth seeing, though they are far apart.

We managed to avoid getting the car stolen, and were not pickpocketed or mugged.

Then we got back to civilised Rome and found someone had burgled our flat.