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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Good news chaps! My memory is still working.

I've just remembered that (just before the Brexit vote) I was enjoying a few days skiing at the millionaire’s playground resort at Klosters in Switzerland when I foolishly decided, after a good lunch, to ski off-piste to get back to my chalet in Davos. Half an hour later I was caught in a blizzard and freezing to death. I looked around for a St Bernard wearing a barrel of brandy and, whilst no rescue dog could be found, I was fortunate to see the lights of a nearby chalet through the gathering gloom. I skied towards it and was astonished to find that it was an astounding 20 bedroom skiing villa valued at £7 million. It was obviously owned by a Russian Oligarch and as I knocked on the door I cursed myself for having only a couple of words of Russian. I needn’t have worried. The door was opened by a dashing looking man who enquired in perfect English, “Can I help you?”

I explained my problem and he invited me in for a cup of tea, and as he came in from the kitchen carrying two steaming mugs I gasped as I realized it was none other than the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg.

“Nick,” I stuttered, “what are you doing here? I thought this place belonged to a billionaire Russian Oligarch.”

“No it’s Daddy’s,” he put me straight, “I’ve come here to get some peace and quiet whilst I prepare for my EU debate with that drunken pleb Farage.”

“Pleb?” I was shocked to hear Nick use such a term, “but I thought you both went to London public day schools?”

“You’re not seriously comparing Westminster, one of the finest public schools in Britain, with that second rate minor public school Dulwich?” Nick scoffed.

“Is that how you’re going to attack him on Europe?” I asked. “By pointing out that he went to a minor public school, or do you have more substantial arguments?”

“Let me be absolutely clear: leaving the EU would be economic suicide. You cannot overstate the damage it would do to British livelihoods and prosperity.” Nick replied. “Three million British jobs are linked to the Single Market – three million. As a member we are part of the world’s biggest borderless market place, made up of 500 million people. It’s now the largest economy in the world – ahead of the United States – and it’s where we do around half of all our trade.”

“But haven’t UK exports to non-EU countries grown by more than 40 per cent over the past five years while sales to Europe have risen by just 3.1 per cent,” I played Devil’s advocate, “and hasn’t the UK deficit on trade with EU countries risen by £1.5billion to £15.4billion in the last three months while the deficit with the rest of the world was £1billion lower.”

“We may run a massive trade deficit with the EU,” Nick conceded, “but who is to say that it won’t be even larger if we leave?”

“But before we joined the EU in 1973 didn’t we have a small trading surplus with them,” I asked, “and if we leave won’t it be possible to negotiate a limited membership of the EU like Switzerland have, which costs them only £6 million a day, compared to our membership cost of £50 million a day, even though the EU imports three times as much from Switzerland as it does from us?”

“Why would the EU agree to that,” Nick scoffed, “what would be in it for them?”

“A trade agreement akin to Switzerland’s would allow the EU to continue exporting £60 billion more of goods every year to the UK than we export to them,” I said, “it would be economic suicide for the EU to cut us adrift.”

“Kevin,” Nick shook his head ruefully, “you’re arguing like a conservative, placing too much emphasis on facts. We liberals know we are right, regardless of the overwhelming evidence against us. Maybe the economic argument for membership doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but we receive so many other benefits from the EU, and all for the bargain cost of just £18 ¼ billion a year!”

“Like what?”

“What will happen to our influence in the world if we choose to go it alone from Europe?” Nick asked. “We stand tall in Washington, Beijing and Delhi when we stand tall in Brussels, Paris and Berlin.”

“But haven’t we increased trade to America, China and India by billions of pounds in 2013?” I asked, “and didn’t Cameron negotiate a free trade agreement with China, who imported £12 billion worth of goods from the UK last year, with China promising to invest £50 billion in the UK economy, only for the EU to block the agreement because it didn’t want cheap Chinese imports flooding into Europe?”

“Okay then forget world influence,” Nick took a red pen and crossed out a section of his notes for the Farage debate, “what will happen to our citizens’ safety if we leave? The British police depend on cooperation with their counterparts abroad – sharing information, pooling resources, helping each other bring criminals to justice. Take that away and you are forcing the police to do their job with one hand tied behind their back.”

“But doesn’t our signing up to the European Human Rights Act hinder our citizens safety?” I postulated. “Didn’t Europe block our attempts to extradite terrorists like Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada, costing our taxpayers ten of millions of pounds a year, and giving a green light to terrorists to come to Britain and plot its destruction from within whilst living on benefits, without fear of us throwing them out?”

“Well what about our environment?” Nick quickly changed the subject. “Climate change doesn’t stop at Dover. There is no point reducing our carbon footprint unless our neighbours do the same. But together we can set collective targets and work in concert to achieve them – and we have far greater clout in encouraging other countries and regions to do the same.”

“The European Science budget, along with additional spending on tackling climate change, will cost the EU taxpayers a minimum of £267 billion over the next five years,” I informed him, “what do the EU taxpayers get for this huge amount of money?”

“EU scientists last year exposed many myths which have been long put about by the likes of Nigel Farage and his climate change denying puppet James Delingpole,” Nick replied.

“Such as?” I challenged the Liberal Democrat leader.

“Let me tell you Kevin,” said Nick, “if it weren’t for the expenditure of this £267 billion European scientists would never have uncovered the fact that climate change is man-made and can only be stopped by more wind farms.”

“Is that their only discovery?” I asked.

“No they also discovered that prunes are not a laxative and it is now illegal under EU law to claim that they are, Nick replied.

“Any other scientific discoveries from our £267 billion?” I raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

“Certainly,” Nick replied with a note of triumph, “ after a five year study funded by the taxpayer and costing only £30 million European scientists found no evidence to suggest that drinking water rehydrates you and it is now, under EU law, illegal for companies like Evian, Perrier and Highland Spring to advertise that drinking water is a cure for thirst.”

“Let me get this right,” I sought clarification, “at the bargain cost to the taxpayer of only £267 billion, European scientists are equally sure that climate change is man-made and can only be stopped by renewable energy, that prunes are not a laxative and that drinking water is not a cure for thirst?”

“Precisely,” Nick confirmed.

“So given the strength of the arguments you will put forward against Farage,” I asked Nick, “how do you think the European election results will go next year for the Liberal Democrats and UKIP after your debate?”

“Between us the Liberal Democrats and UKIP have 21 seats in the European Parliament,” Nick replied, “after my debate against Farage, when the British people have heard what we both have to say, I think we will still have 21 seats between us.”

“You currently have 12 and UKIP have 9,” I pointed out, “do you think those numbers will stay the same?”

“To be honest with you Kevin no,” Nick sighed, “after our debate I expect UKIP to win 21 seats and the Liberal Democrats 0.”
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Mick Harper
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I would take this more seriously if you got your facts straight. Dulwich College is so intellectually rarified it turned me down for not being bright enough. Me!
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Dulwich College? S'funny you should mention that.

Mick Harper wrote:
I would take this more seriously if you got your facts straight. Dulwich College is so intellectually rarified it turned me down for not being bright enough. Me!


Perhaps they were omnisciently aware (in advance) of how dangerous you would be to their creation myth?

It is said that Dulwich was built as a gesture of thanksgiving to God for Alleyn's acting ability and success in business dealings.


Business? What business?

Alleyn went into business with his father-in-law Philip Henslowe and became wealthy. He was part-owner in Henslowe's ventures, and in the end sole proprietor of several profitable playhouses, bear-pits and brothels.


Aha, my kind of business! :-)
Although M'Lady Boreades isn't so keen on bear-pits :-(

But what's this?

Alleyn is unusual among figures in 16th-century drama because a large selection of his private papers have survived. They were published in 1843 as The Alleyn Papers, edited by scholar-forger John Payne Collier. He also developed professional relationships with religious and political figures such as Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Julius Caesar.


Not sure whether the "professional relationship with Francis Bacon" is a fabrication (courtesy of the scholar-forger John Payne Collier). Or whether Alleyn & Bacon & Co were busy getting rich by inventing one of the greatest pieces of stagecraft in British History.

i.e. the fictional Shakespeare as a front (and firebreak) in case they attracted even more right royal wrath.

See: http://www.sirbacon.org/links/evidence.htm
And the connections to the original "007" - John Dee : http://www.sirbacon.org/links/dblohseven.html

on the afternoon of August 11, 1582 there was an entry in Dee's journal that they met at Mortlake. Bacon was 21 years old at the time and was accompanied by a Mr. Phillipes, a top cryptographer in the employ of Sir Francis Walsingham who headed up the early days of England's secret service.


Why so secret? The proto-intelligence services were involved in a deadly game of cat & mouse. Much mentioned in the new BBS series on Elizabeth 1st's Secret Agents. But sadly without mentioning Francis Bacon and John Dee?
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Mick Harper
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I wanted to go to Alleyns because they played football. And speaking of Francis Bacon he has claims to be England's greatest thinker. Present company excluded.
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Wile E. Coyote


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When Saudi announces a massive crackdown on corruption after a helicopter crash, you know it's like Russia or China, it's a coup attempt gone badly wrong.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41881058
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
When Saudi announces a massive crackdown on corruption after a helicopter crash, you know it's like Russia or China, it's a coup attempt gone badly wrong.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41881058


Why suspect foul play when simple stupid accidents will do? Some might say, given the massive amount of private jet and helioclopper air travel these Saudi folk seem to do, it's bound to happen sooner rather than later.

Like the, err, Bin Laden family air crashes? But they do seem to have made a habit of it.

Mohammed Bin Laden, who died in a plane crash in 1968, had many wives, and is estimated to have had at least 50 children. His eldest son, Salem Bin Laden, also died in a plane crash in Texas in 1988


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33745057
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Boreades


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Harpo, red alert! Turn on your TV and watch Panorama tonight.

Or read all about the Paradise Papers here:
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
https://www.icij.org/

Just in case they mention the AEL & TME pension funds. You did put them in a safe place didn't you? Don't forget to put control of the Intellectual Property rights in that nice little company in St.Peterport.
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Mick Harper
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This new Saudi bloke hasn't got a prayer. If he lasts six months I will be mega-surprised.
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Mick Harper
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So much shit is going down at the moment I feel it would be intruding on grief to comment. But one thing that strikes me re the Paradise Papers (and why are they always called the 'so-called Paradise Papers' -- blimey it is their name) and that is why rich people bother. I can understand a company wanting to get an edge by not having to pay as much tax as a competitor but why spend your life (literally having to do so in many cases) in order to have six hundred mill rather than five hundred mill? Especially as that runs the risk of your wife, your business partner or your accountant running off with the lot.

This reached its apogee with Lewis Hamilton. He uses his plane for personal use ten per cent of the time which means in British law he would only have to pay VAT on ten per cent of its cost. That is three million divided by seventeen and a half per cent divided by ten per cent. By my reckoning about tuppence happeny. But no, he decides to save that by spending zillions on accountants and his reputation. And he'll have to pay it all back. Plus a big time penalty. And he'll be going to prison. Or at least his dad will (cf Lionel Messi snr. Or Snr Lionel Messi. Or it might have been some other tax-dodging footballer. And I very much doubt if he went to prison in the end. but still if I was Lewis Hamilton's dad I'd have a word).
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Wile E. Coyote


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There was a lot of armchair criticism of the Madrid government's bullyboy tactics over Catalonia, eg batoning voters and arresting the leadership of those seeking independence.......

Yet it is going incredibly well for Madrid so far.


There is a lot of wishful thinking about liberty (cf Arab Spring) from folks where freedoms are entrenched about places where they are not.
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Mick Harper
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Yes, as soon as they switched to a policy of masterly inactivity the problem was solved.
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Mick Harper
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A Zimbabwe Prediction

It won't be long before everybody is sighing for the good old days of Mugabe. The thing about him was that he was an old school, traditionalist despot. For instance, he outsourced security to the STASI who were relatively benign as these things go. Mugabe's worst crime was murdering 20,000 Ndebele which, in nigh on forty years, is a fair record.

The new bloke (the vice-pres is looking favourite) will still have Mugabe's general problem--ruling a country where the majority (the Shona) will always vote for their political arm (ZANU-PF) to keep out the Ndebele (Zulu) party, whatever it is called from time to time. The Shona are a dozy lot and the Zulus aren't which is why they must be kept out of power (believe me!) Since this is also exactly the situation in the regional power, South Africa, nothing is going to change any time soon except the new bloke, lacking even Mugabe's credentials, will have to use even more force to keep the Ndebele down and to get the Shona to do anything at all.

I'll provide the solution later.
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Wile E. Coyote


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I have to say that I thought Mugabe's speech (forced show resignation) was a masterly performance. He read out the meaningless platitudes, making it clear that this wasn't his speech, (gotta love the bit where he complained about the length) whilst avoiding implicating himself or resigning.

John Humphreys, at his most superior on the radio today, called it rambling. No doubt John would have done exactly as he was told, and resigned in the perfect Queens English, thereby giving away his only negotiating card.

The BBC has now come round to the idea that a coup might be a good thing, err, as the BBC thinks it is likely to benefit the Zimbabwe nation.

We will now see any future "civilian" govts do exactly what the military wants, or of course suffer another coup.
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Mick Harper
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Since ZANU-PF is the political wing of the Liberation Army and the Army is the Liberation Army you will have to explain the distinction.

On this subject, and further to my previous, it is worth remembering that Zimbabwe was liberated by the Ndebele Liberation Army (under Joshua Nkomo) with the Shona Liberation Army (prop: R. Mugabe) mostly looking on. When the British, at the Lancaster House peace talks ending the war, insisted on 'free and fair elections', Nkomo had to look on, steaming quietly, because he knew Mugabe's Shona ZANU-PF would win those by a landslide, while his own ZAPU-PF would soon be rounded up.
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Gualtieri



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Mick, you're right, it was Messi and his dad and neither got jail time, at least none that they'll have to serve.
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