Friday, May 16, 2014

Unpopular politicos; Euro slugs; Unwelcome heat; Taxes; & A bit of Holst


This week's murder of a politician - not a political murder - is generating quite some controversy. This reflects hostility towards both politicians generally and the victim particularly. Naturally, the politicians are taking this badly and overreacting. See here for more on this

And talking of politicians, it struck me today - possibly not for the first time - what a great number it is being a member of the European parliament. No one knows who you are; no one knows just how high your salary is; no one is aware how vast your expense claims are; no one cares one iota about how little you do and which relatives you employ; and no one gives a damn whether or not you participate in debates or even attend them. All-in-all, a job tailor-made for the lazy and the greedy. I wish I'd thought about boarding the gravy train years ago. Is it too late? It doesn't stop Daniel Hannan writing a column as well.

A company called ZTE has launched a smartphone for just €72. Its specs look good to me, though as I don't have a smartphone - and don't even know what 'open source' means - I may be being too positive here. One reviewer sniffs that the specs are 'chintzy', which rather confuses me, as I've only ever seen this word attached to furniture.

Wednesday was the hottest day of the year so far here in Galicia, with the mercury reaching 30 at midday. Yesterday was - to the relief of we Galicians - a little lower. Like the Brits, we like to moan when it rains and complain when the temperature goes above 25-27 degrees. This may be regarded as pretty cool down in Sevilla and Córdoba but it's as much as we can take up here. One irony is that - because of its topography - the city of Ourense, up in the Galician hills, can be hotter than both of these southern cities. And more humid. Meanwhile, over in Britain they're forecasting a weekend 'heatwave' of 23-25 degrees. Poor souls.

Some pop stars in the UK are reported to be obliged to 'repay millions in tax'. I'm confused. Has the tax office given them some taxpayers' money and now told them to pay it back? Or has the tax office merely told them they owe more tax than they've paid? I guess it's the latter, which doesn't constitute 'repayment' to me. Though that's how all the media jocks describe it.

It's been a bad year for the hapless - and once worshipped - David Moyes. But at least he's in line for a 50m(€60m) payoff for less than a year's work. So things could actually get worse; his wife could divorce him and take 25/30m of that. It's enough to tempt a saint.

Finally . . . The concert I attended the other night included the final movement from Holst's St Paul's Suite. It's quite charming and you can hear it here. Or the whole suite here. As someone has written, Holst has been overpraised for The Planets and underpraised for his other works.√

1 comment:

Perry said...

Colin,

In the comments for Tuesday 13th May, I mentioned the use of political assassination as a legitimate course of action. Further reading led me to the American concept of targetted killings.

"When people call a targetted killing an "assassination," they are attempting to preclude debate on the merits of the action.

Assassination is widely defined as murder, and is for that reason prohibited in the United States ... U.S. officials may not kill people merely because their policies are seen as detrimental to our interests ... But killings in self-defence are no more "assassinations" in international affairs than they are murders when undertaken by our police forces against domestic killers.

Targetted killings in self-defence have been authoritatively determined by the Federal government to fall outside the assassination prohibition."

I corrected the American spellings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination#Targeted_killing

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