16 July, 2015

George H

This blog's sympathy to George H Bush, the President who succeeded Reagan, who, at the age of 91, has had a bad fall and broken a bone in his neck.

At the risk of seeming to write his obituary early, he will be remembered for two things. The first was that, whilst mouthing genuine English words, he appeared to be speaking quite a different language. He it was who coined 'the f-word' for saying f***, and said he wasn't good at 'the vision thing', a curious construction for the quality for which he was in fact being paid.

The second thing for which he will be remembered, and this should be a case study for all US voters, was that he was the only President in modern times who was qualified for the job: he had been US representative in China, Ambassador to the UN and head of the CIA.

And yet he was a disaster as President.

Lacked the economics-thing, perhaps.

07 July, 2015


Qn. What do the following people have in common: Joerg Haider, Yanis Varoufakis, Silvio Berlusconi, George Papandreou?

A. They have all been forced out of democratically elected positions by the unelected European Union.

The latest is Varoufakis. It seems odd that in the middle of all its troubles and after a successful referendum, Greece is changing finance minister, but Merkel and Hollande didn't like him and the EU doesn't give a stuff what electors want.

Varoufakis used to lecture at the University of East Anglia, which makes you wonder what kind of stuff we are putting into the heads of the next generation of leaders.

The new man is Euclid Tsakolotos who was educated at St.Paul's and Oxford, like Chancellor George Osborne and, dare I say it, your humble blogger.

The difference is that Euclid is a Marxist. What Mrs. Merkel will make of that Karl only knows.

05 July, 2015


Apparently for the christening of the royal princess, as, apparently for her brother, water from the River Jordan will be flown in.

Apart from the effect of wasteful air travel on the environment, something the child's grandfather makes such a fuss about when he isn't indulging in it himself, there is the aspect of the law.

Water from the Jordan is a lucrative racket indulged on both sides of the river. So Her Majesty, head of the Church, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, are guilty of conspiring in this crime, which is called simony.

Besides, doesn't the benefit of baptism come from the blessing, rather than the origin or chemical treatment of the water?

02 July, 2015


There are stories that sorting out the structural problems of the Palace of Westminster might cost £7 billion.

It is perfectly obvious the country can't afford this but don't worry. They will just have to cut their coat according to the available cloth, and make the sort of decisions ordinary people have to make all the time.

Here are some options. First, sponsorship.

History records The Long Parliament and The Rump Parliament, now we can have the Nike parliament, or perhaps get a few hundred million from McDonalds, particularly tempting with a Prime Minister called Cameron.

An alternative might be to move the whole thing to Bradford or Swansea where property is, rightly, cheap. Bradford being a muslim area, alcohol is frowned on so naturally there would be no bars.

There would also be the incalculable benefit of MPs learning how the rest of the country lives.

War again?

I remember back to the start of the Iraq war. Tony Blair had persuaded large numbers of his own party to back a war but needed cross party support. The man who could have put a stop to it was Ian Duncan Smith, then leader of the Tory Party, but instead of giving a considered judgment he made a speech to the effect 'if there's a fight  we want to be part of it.'

The British Foreign Secretary, a rather unmemorable person named Hammond, has been making similar noises about ISIS. There are too many public figures with this mindset, particularly in the Tory Party, mainly men with a military background, or who would like you to think they had a military background. They are often quoted by the newspapers who love to shake their fists at a perceived enemy then relish mourning our dead as they are brought back.

ISIS have killed what, 50 westerners? including the 30 slaughtered the other day in Tunisia. And they have killed a good 20,000 in the Middle East.

This is a Middle Eastern war. ISIS don't want to invade Hampshire they want to conquer Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern and North African countries, following the route taken by Mohammed and his troops in the 8th century.

ISIS must be fought by other Muslims, by Saudi, Qatar, Egypt and the others to whom it is a threat - Tunisia should join too, having just lost its tourism industry. What would we do, joining a war? Invade Syria? On which side? The gung ho in parliament wanted us to fight Assad not so long ago; now, presumably, they want us to join him against a new load of Muslim butchers.

Let's leave them to it.