Friday, July 15, 2016

Boris the Barbarian


“A flat and rather dull comedy” which details the antics of a “dullard diplomat”.  Not, actually, a description of May’s appointment of the Loquacious Lout to the Foreign Office and what used to be regarded as one of the Major Offices of State, no, the quotations refer to a black and white film which came to mind when I was first informed of the Bumbling Blond’s accession to political prominence: Carlton Browne of the FO, starring gap-toothed Terry Thomas as the “dullard diplomat”.  The film is a farce, so it is entirely fitting as a reflection on Boris the Barbarian and his laughable role in the new government.
            Thanks to Brexit, any admission of British nationality to those of other nations not afflicted with self-destructive traits provokes bewildered smiles of amused sympathy.  The appointment of Boris to any post in government, let alone that of Foreign Secretary degrades an already farcical situation to the level of unthinking slapstick.
            Surely there is some sort of petition on line (which I would rush to sign did it exist) demanding that May rethink this risible appointment and restrict his antics to his well-paid column in The Telegraph where his words will do less harm than face-to-face insults to heads of state.  What a condition this country has been reduced to when an over-privileged lout can be promoted way beyond his ability to appease the less than savoury narrow minds of hard core Conservatives.
            On a day when the full toll of senseless death from the slaughter in Niece is still being reckoned we need politicians with some degree of gravitas and moral rectitude to act as leaders to bring people together, not egotistical wreckers concerned only with their own well being and status.  How can a person like Boris say anything in a serious situation without trivializing it?  How can he voice heartfelt emotion when he is clearly incapable of seeing beyond the parameters of his own personality?  His appointment is an insult to the office and a clear mark of contempt to the people of Britain.  May used words that show that she has at least heard of the concept of a “One nation” approach.  She has warned that the Conservatives are seen as the “nasty” party.  She has spoken of inclusivity and reaching out to the under-privileged.  The appointment of Boris would indicate that what she has said is mere verbiage, lacking substance.  She is, in fact, taking a leaf out of Boris and Cameron’s own book, and doing something which bolsters her own position in the party at the expense of the country.  Boris is a sop to the right-wing Brexiteers, gives cohesion to the party that engineered the chaos, strengthens May’s hold on power and rubbishes Britain in the eyes of the world.
            Carlton Browne of the FO has a happy ending. I only hope that reality follows fiction, because what is happening in Britain now would be difficult to make up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it.

Anyone who thinks that the white-faced comments from one political coward, or the scripted seeming-modesty of one failed chief deserve anything other than contempt, is willfully ignoring what they have done.  At least in the quotation from Macbeth above the treacherous Thane of Cawdor “confessed his treasons” and “implor’d pardon” and expressed “deep repentence” – but that was literature.  Unfortunately, in Europe in 2016, we are dealing with what is laughingly referred to as reality.

Anything other than odium lavished on the selfishly parochial Cameron as he wryly accepts that he has to leave the position that he thought he would be able to solidify by his callously gambling with the future of the nation that he was supposed to be serving is obnoxious.  He recklessly used the future status and well-being of the United Kingdom as an easy casino chip thrown away on a throw of the dice, trying to cement his position in the contemptible party which he thought he led.  He was a disaster, and his forced smiles as he made his final jokes is nothing more than a calculated insult to the nation that he has failed.

            Wherever he goes from now and until the end of his sad days he should be treated with the contempt that he richly deserves.  His positive achievements (which I recognize) become irrelevant compared with his great betrayal.  He is little more than a traitor and the fact that he can smile amid the ruins that he has created is disgusting.
Which is also and adjective that I would apply to the whole of the Conservative Party.
There is nothing more infantilizing that watching (we are, after all, mere junior spectators and should, apparently, be grateful that we are even allowed to observe) the Conservative Party in full halloo after their tradition prey: POWER!
Their hands still smeared with the spinal fluid from daggers plunged deep between vertebrae of erstwhile friends, these shameless assassins have the temerity to preach to the population about progress and equality in the chaos that they have created.
Prime Minister May (sic) will be judged, in the short term, by who she choses to include in her ‘government’.  There are a few litmus test choices: will she include the blond, lazy, loquacious, lout?  The egoist who helped precipitate this disaster?  Will she include the Minister for ‘Justice’ – proven liar and treacherous colleague?  Will she include any of the utter bastards who have made her (anyone’s) job in the ‘new’ disunited kingdom so much harder?  Will any one of that disreputable crew have the guts to offer a sincere apology to the country that they have offended?  Well, they are Conservatives, so that sort-of answers itself.
And what of the Labour Party?  They (it?) have taken internecine fighting to a new level of destructiveness.  At the best of times the present disunity of the Labour Party would be vicious self-indulgence; at a time of national emergency when they should not only be taking the authors of our misfortune to task, but also presenting positive ideas for the stability and progress of the nation – in such times, the present laughable chaos is completely unacceptable.  Except of course in these bizarre times, after a referendum campaign notable for its lack of decency, truth and basic reality, anything goes.  The more I think about the full import of Brexit, the more I fear that the grotesque monster that is Trump stands more than a reasonable (!) chance of making all the way to the White House.  I hope to God not; but then I didn’t think for a moment that Brexit could appeal to a majority of thinking voters.  So what do I know!
And, I went for a swim with my mobile phone in the pocket of the shorts that I was wearing when I plunged into the pool.  And it wasn’t waterproof.  And even after a night in a bag of dry rice it doesn’t work.  And I’ve had to buy another one.  I am not quite sure how I am going to blame this disaster on Brexit, but I will think of a way to do so and I will be fully justified in so doing.
Roll on something to smile about!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Never trust stereotypes

The only good thing about the Express newspaper was the cartoonist Giles.  And since he is dead there is nothing at all good about that vile little rag.  However, a cartoon by Giles came into my mind when I thought about what happened to me in the Spanish Social Security Office.
            The cartoon showed a class of worried school children watching Chalky (the death mask looking teacher) writing a pile of reports.  One of the kids is whispering to another, “I hope that’s not my report he’s writing.  He’s smiling!”  A normal reaction to those in authority when they show enjoyment.  If they are smiling then someone is going to suffer.
            So, waiting to hear just how much paper pushing would be necessary for me to claim my state pension via the Spanish system was worrying enough without the person dealing with me smiling a lazy smile!
            It took five minutes!  It was all done on-line and now any inefficiency will be on the part of the British system and not the Spanish.  And the smile on the official’s face was genuine happiness, sharing my delight!
            It is difficult to understand.  If I had (as I couldn’t) pressed my claim in Britain then I would have to have filled in an astonishing document which, in one section, asked me to list all the places in which I had lived with full addresses and dates!  And that was only one section!  Carmen tells me that her application of her Spanish state pension demanded reams of paper to be filled in.  But a Brit, having worked for a short period in Spain and now living in Spain: a few minutes, and job done!
            A sobering thought is that the rest of this swift process can take up to four months!
            I have been entitled to my state pension since last October but I wanted to delay it for a year as you get an extra percentage if you wait.  Brexit has wiped out the advantage of that, by already reducing my pension by more than 10% thanks to the plunging pound.  I need ready money rather than jam tomorrow!  It will be instructive to see when real money makes it into my actual account!  But still, just a few minutes and the administration was done!  Unbelievable!
            And to cap this extraordinary result, we also found a wonderful little restaurant, exceptional value and tasty food.
            The only thing to make the day even more perfect will be to discover that the lottery tickets that we purchased on a day of such obvious propitiousness have turned up trumps and I won’t need the pension!