Sunday, March 13, 2016

Today's offerings from the well of knowledge

Corruption: Much closer to home this time. The Secretary General of the left-wing PSOE in Galicia is in deep water. This is one of the 2 big cases which, it's said, have persuaded the president of the PSOE not to attack the president of the (outgoing?) PP party on this subject. Glass houses and stones, etc.

Pontevedra: I took my first look at the Wikipedia page on my city this morning and, to my disappointment, found nothing to argue with. It seems it was last updated in 2008 and I had to laugh at the comment that: It is expected that the AVE high-speed train will reach Pontevedra in 2014.[needs update]. But I was pleased to read that Since 1999 Pontevedra has seen a cultural revival, as this is when I came on the scene . . . I was also intrigued to discover that the archer on top of a bank building is a representation of Teucro, the mythical Greek founder of the city. I'd always thought it was someone else. Finally, I tried to add my blog to the External References but I'm not sure I was successful. So, it may be some time before I figure in the list of Notable People.

It had to come to this: Back in the UK, an Iranian driver was arrested for 'racially aggravated aggression', after he labelled a traffic warden 'English'. Possibly with a well-known noun after it.

Equality at last. On a similar theme . . . A woman in the UK was arrested for attacking an off-duty policewoman in a road-rage incident. Good to know woman have caught up at last. 

The Pope Francis Community: After blocking their posts on my Google+ page, I'm now being hit by Anonymous Zeal, who've announced: We just gonna spam this community? If we are going to list our complaints I guess I will as well. During the dark ages and beyond that the Catholic religion made the public believe they had to pay money to be saved. Paying to get into church, paying so they could pray to the bones of past popes. Also Catholics believe that the pope is "chosen chosen by god"and is able to change or add on to the bible.  If the foundation of the religion was built on greed and lies about paying money to be saved etc then how do you still trust it? They lied, They stopped humanity from advancing for a long time killing people who thought to change society. So, there, Frankie.

Final thought . . . It should be illegal for people to put small, round candles in the same dish as small, round bars of soap, especially upside down so you can't see the wick. It can lead to several frustrating minutes in the bathroom.


It seems that the hierarchy of questions for those Brits who are allowed to vote (not me, incidentally) are:
  1. Purely on the basis of national interest, should I vote to stay in or to get out of an undemocratic plutocracy/bureaucracy/technocracy/kleptocracy which – because it's a committee of 28 committees - makes an unholy mess of everything it tries to do?
  1. How much does my subjective, personal interest override this objective position?
For the Outers, Richard North of EU Referendum is gettingincreasingly irritated by the antics of those on his side. Especially, the ineffable Boris Johnson: Why do we have to put up with this man-child prattling his inanities, and why should anyone begin to take him seriously – except the media which has degenerated to an advanced state of infantilisation? If we allow it, Boris Johnson will cripple this campaign - him and the stupid people around him who have neither the brains nor the humility to realise how wrong they are. They are far more dangerous and damaging than the "remain" campaign. More of this here.

For the Inners, here's the equally ineffable Jeremy Clarkson, giving his rather odd reasons for staying in; with the help of the British media, the EU monster can be reformed into what it was meant to be. Whatever that really was. As he admits, and I as I've said, no one really has any clue what the economic consequences will be and those who say they do are simply lying. Or fooling themselves:-

Call up the paparazzi army to take Brussels — and keep us in Europe

After a month of campaigning for a normal election, we are usually fed up with the mudslinging and the over-analysis and the infernal polls. But this Brexit referendum seems different, because it seems we are not.

Everywhere I go, people are asking the same thing. Are you in or out? Freed from the rich-versus-poor tribalism of a general election, everyone’s listening, everyone’s thinking, everyone’s calmly trying to make up their mind.

Of course, it’s being billed by the media as some kind of personal heavyweight showdown between Bouncing Boris and Call Me Dave. Which would mean we’d have to choose between a man who has screwed up London’s roads to indulge his love of a Victorian transport system. And a man whose wife we quite fancy.

Sadly, however, we are not choosing which Old Etonian we prefer. It’s more complicated than that, and we need the proper campaigning because none of us really knows what’s for the best.

I have spoken in recent weeks to super-rich businessmen who do not know what an exit would mean for commerce, and I’ve spoken to hedge fund managers who are similarly clueless about the effect such a move would have on the City. These guys are opinion formers. They have the ears of ministers. And they’re all standing around at parties with their palms upturned and their shoulders shrugged saying: “We don’t know.”

Normal people reckon it all comes down to immigration. Will we have more Syrians if we stay in the EU than if we leave? And no one knows the answer to that one either. Or whether it’s a good thing ultimately. Or whether it’s just a phase the world’s going through and it’ll all be over when Putin stops bombing Aleppo.

What we think we know is that if Britain chooses to leave, the Scottish will say, “Och aye the noo,” and refuse to come with us. Which would mean immigrants could catch a boat to Edinburgh and then simply walk into England. Which would mean we’d have to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall. Or would we? Again, I’m not sure.

I suppose that now is as good a time as any to declare my hand. I’m with the man whose wife we fancy. I’m in.

When Mr Cameron was touring Europe recently, seeking a better deal for Britain by sucking up to the leaders of such places as Romania and Hungary, I watched on YouTube an MEP called Daniel Hannan make an anti-EU speech to a group of, I think, students. It was brilliant. One of the best speeches I’ve ever heard. And, I’ll admit, it made me question my beliefs. But despite his clever, reasoned and passionate plea for us to leave Europe, I’m still in. He talked sense, but a lot of this debate is about how we feel.

In 1973 my parents held a Common Market party. They’d lived through the war, and for them it seemed a good idea to form closer ties with our endlessly troublesome neighbours. For me, however, it was a chance to make flags out of coloured felt and to eat exotic foods such as sausage and pasta. I felt very European that night, and I still do.

Whether I’m sitting in a railway concourse in Brussels or pottering down the canals of southwestern France or hurtling along a motorway in Croatia, I feel way more at home than I do when I’m trying to get something to eat in Dallas or Sacramento. I love Europe, and to me that’s important.

I’m the first to acknowledge that so far the EU hasn’t really worked. We still don’t have standardised electrical sockets, and every member state is still out for itself, not the common good. This is the sort of thing that causes many people to think, “Well, let’s just leave and look after ourselves in future.”

I get that. I really do. And after I’d watched Hannan’s speech, that’s briefly how I felt too. But, actually, isn’t it better to stay in and try to make the damn thing work properly? To create a United States of Europe that functions as well as the United States of America? With one army and one currency and one unifying set of values?

Britain, on its own, has little influence on the world stage. I think we are all agreed on that. But Europe, if it were well run and had cohesive, well thought-out policies, would be a tremendous force for good. I think we are all agreed on that as well. So how do we turn Europe from the shambles it is now into the beacon of civilisation that it could be in the future?

The answer, I think, lies with the press. Today, in Britain, an MP cannot even put a cup of coffee on expenses without being torn to pieces by the media. A duck house will get him the sack. He can’t look at a pretty girl or pick his nose, and woe betide any of them who says something that is slightly at odds with what they’ve said before. Or with what the leader is thinking.

British MPs work and play in the glare of powerful follow-spots. They are monitored constantly by the newspapers . . . the same newspapers that tell us these people are powerless because these days all the big decisions are made in Brussels.

Right. So let’s switch our attention. Let’s leave the “parish councillors” alone and concentrate our big guns on the real decision makers in Brussels. Let’s have hacks outside their houses all day long, waiting for one of them to do or say something wrong. Let’s make them accountable. Let’s turn them from “faceless bureaucrats” into household names.

That is the biggest problem with the EU right now. Nobody is really concentrating on its leaders. Nobody is saying: “Hang on a minute . . .” And this means they are running amok.

It’s why we need to stay in. So our famously attentive media can try to stop them. To make them pause before they move. To make the Continent work the way the Continent should — as a liberal, kind, balanced fulcrum in a mad world that could soon have Trump on one side and Putin on the other.

One of my favourite snaps of Gracie, my granddaughter:

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

You found NOTHING to argue with on the Wiki page about Ponteverda?? Really NOTHING???

Are you taking a LOT of tranquilizers lately???


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