Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Thoughts from Heald Green, England: 2.1.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

The UK
  • Trains: Rail fares have risen almost three times faster than wages since the start of the decade, despite anger about delays, overcrowding and strikes. For 2019, the overall 3.1% rise of this week is above the projected 2.5% average increase in wages.
  • Cars: On a short walk with my grandkids this morning, I clocked 15 Mercedes (none of them the (small)A class, 6 or 7 BMWs, 5 Land/range Rovers, 3 Lexuses and just 1 Jaguar. It's all about status, of course, not value for money. And fashion. Audis are far more popular in Spain – and in Germany? - than they are here in the UK. I also saw 5 Honda Civics, endorsing my point that this car is far more popular (available?) than in Germany and France.
  • I wonder just how many of the bigger cars are bought on the basis of speciously 'cheap' monthly payments. Which has been forecast to be the next 'mortgage prime' scandal.
  • The London Times says this of Vox: The 42-year-old leader of this Trump-inspired populist party represents the biggest danger to Spain’s political establishment. The paper then predicts:-The far-right party, which got its first taste of power by winning 12 seats in regional elections in Andalucia, will win a sizeable share of the vote at local, regional and European elections in May. Polls say this will be followed similar success at a general election, likely next autumn. Thus the far right will become a serious political force for the first time since Franco. 
  • While we wait on events, The Local raises here the question of how much 'creative destruction' Vox will cause this year.
  • Talking of Franco . . . HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for advising me that some comic suggests Franco's remains be sent to Perejil Island, off the North African coast. Not too far from where Franco made his (ruthless) name. 
  • Here's El PaĆ­s on the subject of his transfer from the Valley of the Fallen.
The UK/Brexit
  • It’s odd isn’t it? We’ve had all that discussion about “crashing out” of the European Union on “WTO terms”. Yet we’ve heard very little about the World Trade Organisation itself, how it makes its rules and whether they can be enforced. Isn’t it about time we did?
  • Putting that another way . . . Isn't it too late? Or at least very nearly too late.
The EU
  • Brussels is alienating its newest members. Former Soviet republics such as Hungary increasingly resent the arrogance of the EU elite.
  • Hmm. You liked the new empire when it promised to throw money at you but not when it started to tell you what the price of it was. Or, as someone put it today: Even in the defiantly anti-Brussels administration of Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the most cherished ministers are those who know how to unlock new funds from the union.
  • The cult-like thinking that Fart's opponents are up against:-
- 'Conservative Christian', Jerry Falwell Jr., in an interview with the Washington Post:-
Q: Is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger support from you or other evangelical leaders?
A: No.
Q: Why?
A: Because I know that he only wants what’s best for this country, and I know that anything he does, while it may not be ideologically “conservative,”  is going to be what’s best for this country. And I can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.

Note: In January 2017, [The staggeringly stupid/dishonest] Falwell was appointed by Trump to chair a task force of 15 college presidents on reforms for the Department of Education. In June 2017, he was offered the position of  Secretary of Education but turned down the offer.

Finally . . .
  • Peter Sellers is one of Britain's best-known comedians. Very funny, at times. But an actress who knew him well said of him: “He was very peculiar and not at all funny in real life.” Hardly unique, as comedians go. And, as comedians go, he went.
© [David] Colin Davies


Sierra said...

Presumably just a coincidence that the new Seaborne Freight business setting up a ferry service from Ramsgate has the same address as the law firm of Mark Bamford, brother of the largest Conservative donor and super-Brexiteer Lord Anthony Bamford of JCB fame

Colin Davies said...

What a scurrilous comment ..

Maria said...

Ah, cars and affordable transport. I shan't be buying a new car any time soon. I can't, and it's not worth it to pay so much money for something that will devaluate to half its value in less than a year. On the other hand, we just might be forced to do so when the ultimate bans on diesel and gasoline cars start kicking in, when we are in our golden years.

And have you noticed how cheap airfares aren't cheap anymore? With all the added on charges, including for taking more clothes than just a change of underwear, the price of the tickets are going back up. Wages are stagnating or going down, and the poor have had the door of cheap travel shut in their faces. I suppose the powers-that-be have realized it's too dangerous to let the hoi-polloi gain knowledge through travel. Or start thinking they are truly free to go where they please.

Colin Davies said...

OK but Manchester-Madrid return mid Jan - 33 pounds .. .