Friday, February 22, 2013

So, Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail. As I understand it, this is because the judge feels there's a probabiity that he's innocent. And, I presume, that he won't flee the country. Which surprised me, as I agreed with the view that his account “has more holes in it that a colander”. Still, one mustn't prejudge.

Back in the UK, the trial of the (ex)wife of the British MP accused of taking the rap for his motoring offence has ended in farce, with the judge dismissing the jury for asking him dumb questions about how they should go about deciding on guilt or innocence. There'll now be a re-trial. Though I don't suppose they'll check whether the next 12 good men and true have a combined IQ of more than 120. That would be judgmental. The unconscionable sin of the 21st century.

The government is already squeezing 2% of GDP out of the budget this year, largely in the form of higher taxes. It is the most draconian belt-tightening since the Second World War. This is happening when construction is in free-fall and industry is shedding 30,000 jobs a month, pushing unemployment to a 15-year high. The longer it goes on, the greater the “hysteresis” effect of lasting damage to labour skills. “The situation is catastrophic. Austerity policies are not working because of the fiscal multiplier,” said the head of the Industrial Research Centre. “Regaining our monetary sovereignty is the only way to rebalance accounts and relaunch growth. Our leaders have to decide whether their priority is the stability of the eurozone or the sound economic health of the country.” Spain?? No, France, actually. In the same boat, it seems.

Corruption: It gets worse for the PP governing party. Now it transpires they've lied about the date on which they 'let go' the guy who's got them into so much trouble by compiling data on illegal payments and distributions. And possibly publishing it as well. President Rajoy now has even more questions to anwer, though I don't suppose he will. Not his style. Prepare for more bluster. And fatuous statements from his subordinates.

Córdoba's Grand Mosque is one of the buildings you must see before you pop your clogs. Sadly, the centre of it has been converted into a cathedral and the whole place is, therefore, managed by the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, the critical parts of the old mosque remain intact and could be used for Muslim prayer. Indeed, nine men have tried to pray there this week, resulting in a fight and their arrest. One would've thought this could be settled amicably, with Muslim prayer being allowed at specific times. In the spirit of ecumenecalism which was much vaunted not so long ago. But I am not optimistic. Common sense and religion are not natural bedfellows. To say the least.

I think I've mentioned the multiplicity of languages down here on the Cost del Sol. This morning I spent ten minutes trying to decide which nothern European tongue I was listening to before I realised the speaker was Scottish.

China is now the biggest ivory market on Earth. According to a recent survey, fewer than 33% of the population realise that elephants have to die to be relieved of their tusks: 70% think they grow back, like fingernails. Like tiger paws, I guess. Or bear spleens.

Finally . . . As the Russian armies advanced on Berlin, they took – and interrogated – thousands of German prisoners. One of these was recorded as saying, with a degree of bitterness, The only promise that Hitler ever kept was the one he made in 1933 – Vote me into power and in ten years time Germany will be unrecognisable.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

About the prayers at Córdoba, if a superior mind doesn't throw a H-Bomb at the Vatican, Jerusalem, Mecca, Amritsar, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Bollullos Par del Condado, I think mankind can't survive.

Sareb el Malo

Alfred B. Mittington said...


An accumulated IQ of 120 between 12?? That's not a jury, that's a can of sardines!

Alfred Magnus

Bill said...

I listened to most of the Pistorius bail hearing ruling at the end of which he was granted bail. I don't think Magistrate Nair said anything like what you reported. He seemed to come down on the side of granting bail largely because he did not believe Pistorius was a flight risk and because of the negligible possibility of him leaving (by air presumably) without causing all sorts of alarms to go off at an airport, because of his fame and his prosthetic limbs. In fact, the Magistrate raised a number of pertinent questions about the believability of what Pistorius has claimed, but repeated many times that this was not a trial, merely a bail hearing. However, he specifically stated that he could find no grounds to dispute the State's prosecution claim that it was a Class 6 murder ('pre-meditated') rather than Class 5, which would not imply pre-meditation.

I think the unspoken sub-text was that it would also be difficult to protect Pistorius from abuse/harm, because of his physical disablement, were he to spend the pre-trial period in prison; a number of legal experts were interviewed after the ruling who made this point. No doubt if he is eventually found guilty this particular situation will have to be faced.

Anthea said...

I read once that Judaism, Islam and Christianity used to live happily side by side in Cordoba. Then came the Catholic Kings (Fernando e Isabel) and everything changed. You might think, though,hat moren 500 years on tolerance might have returned.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Dear Anthea,

That is a silly myth, brought into the world by 19th century liberals who wanted to prove that Islam was superior to Christianity. The Cordoba Caliphate, for all its splendor, was military machine grafted onto a slave-society. It was no better, and no worse, than its Christian contemporaries.

Alfred.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Dear Anthea,

That is a silly myth, brought into the world by 19th century liberals who wanted to prove that Islam was superior to Christianity. The Cordoba Caliphate, for all its splendor, was military machine grafted onto a slave-society. It was no better, and no worse, than its Christian contemporaries.

Alfred.