MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
The Tom Sawyer Principle (Politics)
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 21, 22, 23, 24  Next
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Boreades


In: finity and beyond
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Putting aside the idea that there really are any "feral horses" in Britain (if so, how does one acquire them?), or how might such feral horses coincidentally arrive all together in a convenient field....

Did your time with the Travellers reveal any successful applications of the ploy?

Or was it all a case of Travellers finding a great way to take the piss out of local authorities that piss them off?
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

I answer your queries from a position of less than optimal information, Borry, but I know you're keen on these country matters so here goes

Putting aside the idea that there really are any "feral horses" in Britain

I was perhaps ill-advised to use the term. 'Ownerless' horses would perhaps have been better.

(if so, how does one acquire them?)

A later inspection of tags revealed at least one of them was stolen but I don't think Travellers generally have much difficulty in acquiring horses.

or how might such feral horses coincidentally arrive all together in a convenient field....

There was no attempt to hide the fact that someone put the horses in the field. Large concrete blocks do not materialise of their own accord even in that mysterious place we call 'the countryside'. The horses are only there to provide top dressing and complications for the scam. The Travellers, as far as I could make out, had no immediate plans either to develop or occupy the field, though I may be wrong about that.

This is a familiar problem in this general area of English law. It is a criminal offence to break into a building in order to squat it; it is not illegal to squat in a building that ... er ... somebody else has broken into.

Did your time with the Travellers reveal any successful applications of the ploy?

Everyone concerned seemed to regard it as routine. But 'no' is the answer to your question.

Or was it all a case of Travellers finding a great way to take the piss out of local authorities that piss them off?

The local authorities (Thames Valley police aside) seemed remarkably absent. I am not overly familiar with Travellers' sense of humour though I wouldn't have thought a lengthy and complex procedure involving the Land Registry (and I imagine other organs of the state) was a barrel of laughs. But yes, I suppose this is all quite funny looked at in a certain way.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

The Cuban government is being particularly wrong-headed at the moment. The president informed his fellow-countrymen, and the wider world, that the riots convulsing the island were being paid for by 'American interests'. So what's the prob? With Covid having put paid to Cuba's No 1 income stream, tourism, they now have another one. And, as a bonus, the proletariat won't have to earn their dollars in the demeaning capitalist world of the hospitality industry but in the good old Marxian arena of barricade and ambuscade.

Hola!
Cuba libre!
I'll have mine in a tall glass with a little bit of petroleum fuse on top, por favor.
Gasolino, senor? In Cuba, senor? Did senor not know that all the oil in the world has been a Yanqui monopoly for the last sixty years?
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

1. The Third World is in a complete mess
2. It appears to be getting worse rather than better
3. This has been going on so long that there must presumptively be somethng systematically wrong
4. The one thing that the Third World has always systematically relied on is aid from the First World
5. There must therefore be a prima facie case that First World aid is either causing the mess or doing nothing to ameliorate it
6. The chief system progenitor of First World aid to the Third World is the UK
7. The UK is currently having an intensive internal debate about whether to stop the aid or not
8. What provisional conclusion have they come to about the efficacy of Third World aid?
9. None. It is entirely couched in terms of whether COVID demands on the domestic budget mean that foreign aid might have to be curtailed temporarily
10. Can you name a country, either in the Third World or the First, that is composed of seventy million morons?
Send private message
Boreades


In: finity and beyond
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Mick Harper wrote:
6. The chief system progenitor of First World aid to the Third World is the UK
7. The UK is currently having an intensive internal debate about whether to stop the aid or not


T'was true, and a significant part of "Foreign Aid" was to give guaranteed loans to Third World countries to buy UK goods and services. Sometimes of dubious provenance. See "The Night Manager" and think Foreign Office Trade Missions scattered across the Third World eager to sell the most advanced and expensive British products (not Dyson vacuum cleaners)

I'm told that, sadly, even this type of carrot is well past it's Best Before date, as these ungrateful countries just don't seem to want so many UK goods and services. Perhaps the Australian parable has reached them?

If you want to go into the desert, buy a Land Rover.
If you want to come out again, buy a Toyota Land Cruiser

The intensive internal debate may well be along the lines of "if we can't even give it away, what are we supposed to do with it?"

It might be the Chinese that are building all the new railways in Africa. But, by George, they're still using British Standard Gauge.

I still prefer a Toyata HiLux Pickup, they are virtually indestructable. The straw bales, pigs and chickens can be chucked in the back, and we just hose it out later. But M'Lady would still prefer the Range Rover to go shopping in. We don't mind that that's Indian now.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

guaranteed loans to Third World countries to buy UK goods and services

I have no great objection to this kind of 'tied aid' since it is an adjunct of British trade policy. Just as, say, giving aid to India when they are producing H-bombs and space rockets is an adjunct of foreign policy. I might not think it overall very sensible but at least the aid is being given for a specific purpose. It might be viewed in the same light as the World Bank might judge a soft loan to a desperately poor country to build an enormous hydro-electric dam.

What I object to is charitable aid. In the early days it was always being argued that the first thing an African state did with its tranche of aid was to build a dual lane highway from the presidential palace to a newly refurbished airport so that officials from donor countries (and the larger charities) could fly in, talk to the president and fly out again marvelling at what a transformation their money had wrought. A bit later it provided a handy escape route for the president to flee ahead of a coup with whatever was left over from the aid money.

Everyone's a good deal more sophisticated these days. The money is now always targeted on projects of the 'give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, give him a fishing rod and you will feed him for life' type. So now the fish are all gone and the rods can be spared. But our sophistication is a good deal more sophisticated than that nowadays.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

One of my Big Political Themes is that the poor are never important in any given society except that they are used as a political football between left and right, between government and opposition, between the ins and the outs. So naturally I was drawn to this slight variation on the theme

The Poorest in Society are Not Worth Saving. Adebayo Adeniran
https://adebayoadeniran.medium.com/the-poorest-in-society-are-not-worth-saving-6c112bed25e

Another of my big theses is that there is no such category as 'the poor', therefore they cannot be made not-poor except by such a vast relocation of resources and transformation of society as to lead to the likelihood of everyone ending up poor. Something the writer clearly does not agree with

Despite the yawning chasm between the haves and have nots

If there was it would be a reasonably straightforward matter doing something about it. Alas, most of us at various times are both haves and have nots depending on the circumstance, and the definite 'have nots' begin ... er ... about two pounds a week below the definite 'haves'. It just depends where you insert the card in the card index. But now for the political football bit

and the perpetual gaslighting of the poorest in our midst, why do the poor keep voting against their interests?

Well, old chap, it's probably because it's damn dfficult deciding which party is in their interest. Certainly the 'haves' seem to vote variously Tory, Labour, Liberal, Other in a most perplexing manner. But I expect you probably meant

'Why do the poor keep voting other than for the party I vote for?'

Just a guess on my part.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Banning Ben & Jerry’s: What Took You So Long?
Why is any progressive still buying Ben & Jerry’s anyway?
Dr Munr Kazmir

This is a toughie. He's a doctor so it may be something to do with additives -- though why would that affect progressives more than non-progressives? It can't be anything to do with dairy or whatnot. Hitler was a vegetarian. Or am I thinking of Vegan? It's certainly not because of worries over batch production in boutique ice-cream makers (something Countryfile should be investigating not lauding every week) because Ben & Jerry has been a Unilever brand for yonks. Unless maybe Unilever is Jewish and Dr Munr Kazmir is a Muslim. Perish such a thought. It wouldn't be on medium.com if it was anything of that kind.

I dunno. I give up. I'm not a progressive, I'm not a Ben & Jerry aficionado, I couldn't give a monkeys. That's it! Chunky Monkey. It's offensive and anthropomorphically patronising to our siman cousins.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

You learn a lot from the way people approve of those they're not sure they are supposed to approve of. Here's David Peace writing in the Guardian

The last book that made me laugh
I am reluctant to admit Four Crowded Years: The Diaries of Auberon Waugh, 1972-1976. Bron was laugh-out-loud funny, I’ll give him that.

Give him what? He was a comic writer. You laughed. End of. What's there to be mealy-mouthed about? I'll tell you. Dave is writing in the Guardian and Auberon Waugh was viciously anti-Left. He was viciously anti-everything but that won't save you when it's left speaking unto left. In any case, Dave was telling fibs. He admits himself he creases up reading stuff much more recent than fifty year old jottings.

My comfort read
The 2017 and 2019 Labour party manifestos; never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

You learn a lot from short listed books for a new fiction prize co-sponsored by the Guardian

1. The fallout from civil war invades the London home of a high-flying Sri Lankan couple
2. An elderly Jamaican woman faces up bravely to the inhumanity of deportation
3. A young black man struggles to own his sexuality, in an English commuter town where he finds himself continually objectified
4. Gift Nyoni examines the role of the father in a small boy’s experience of revolution
5. Pontianak uses Malaysian mythology to evoke the terrors facing an oppressed young mother who has just given birth
6. Postpositions interrogates inheritance, queerness and television

The other co-sponsors, Fourth Estate, were thinking of signing me up once but thought better of it. All I got out of it was tea, a biscuit and an impassioned plea about how anxious they were to sign authors with a fresh angle. I didn't have one, they decided. Next!
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Ucas: record numbers of students will get first choice of university Guardian

I find this most comforting, heralding as it does the End of Days. Now that all get prizes, people might start examining the prizes. And then they might ask themselves what kind of a prize is it that you have to go down the shops and buy yourself.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

The thing I hate (most) about billionaire philanthropists is that, because they want to be loved rather than do good, they always do the safe thing. They forget that if everyone thinks it's a good thing it will be done by everyone anyway. This diatribe has been triggered by watching Bill Gates who's on Andersen Cooper 360 because "he's an expert on Covid having given billions to world health programmes". Well, no he's not but that's not what I'm objecting to. It's this

Billionaire philanthropists' dosh is a unique world resource. It's discretionary, it's not subject to oversight, it comes without strings, it can be shovelled into huge piles and aimed at single problems, above all it is quirkily subjective. So, Bill, (do you mind me calling you Bill, your sweater seems to invite informality) do you think giving billions to world health programmes is taking best advantage of your very particular position, or do you think all that money gets lost in the general sloshing around of money thrown at world health programmes from every conceivable direction?

Good. Now you agree with me, I'll start outlining the sorts of things you should be doing. But remember, there's nothing in it for you except obloquy and derision the like of which you haven't experienced since junior high. What's that? You love it! You'll be the first billionaire on the block to do it! You liar, but OK, here's the first one...
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

An Open Letter to the People of Lebanon
from Bill Gates

I’d like to borrow your country for a bit to use as a guinea pig. This is what I propose. Me (and some other billionaires, maybe Muslim ones, but I’ll do it on my own if necessary) will take over your finances. This probably means taking over your government too – with semi-dictatorial powers -- but I’m not really interested in all that. We can come to an arrangement. What I want to do is to show that failed states can be put back on their feet if only there is a short(ish) period of corruption-free and efficient administration -- backed with billions of dollars. Nothing fancy just standard housekeeping measures but I'll be the one deciding what they are. If all goes well, at the end of the programme you’ll have a nice little state you can run yourselves or muck up yourselves.

But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. At the end of the programme I shall be taking my money out again (plus ten per cent for the aggro). This is not because I want the money – I think I’ve established that by now – but because this is a model for failed states and there are more failed states than there are stoopid billionaires. If the mechanism works, it works. If it doesn't work I won't be getting my money back but that's for me to worry about. Meanwhile you will have had your most pressing bills paid. (No pun intended, I don't have a sense of humour.)

Have a little chat amongst yourself and let me know.

But either way, all the best

Bill Gates
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

On roughly the same topic, there is a real and avoidable tragedy unfolding in South Africa. No other sub-Saharan country has a viable 'colonial' class left, and most of them have 'encouraged' the departure of non-colonial mercantile groups -- Indians, Arabs, Jews, Armenians. This accounts for much of the waste of Western aid which tends to be dumped on the natives who are expected to get on with it. It would be considered neo-colonialism if the donors hung around to supervise. This accounts for the relative success of Chinese 'aid' since they send out cadres to micro-manage everything. We shall have to see how that works out. As usual with the Chinese, everything is front-loaded with success but ...

So, whither South Africa? We'll see in a minute. Or rather we won't.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

OK, so South Africa is unique in the world in being a third world country with a viable first world 'class' (and infrastructure). What is it dong with this unique advantage? It is throwing it all away. By insisting the government must be 'third world' everything is disappearing out the side door via corruption -- the Zouma revelations alone runs into billions -- while the entire country is afflicted with crime and disorder on a scale that makes everyone despair. And shall, in time, mean the First World population (and infrastructure) will disappear. As elsewhere in the Third World, the situation appears to be getting worse rather than better.

Since one section of the First World population is made up of Afrikaners who have a long and effective history of dealing precisely with these kinds of societal malfunctions, the solution is obvious enough: hand the government over to them. Since South Africa is unusual among Third World countries in being a fully functioning democracy, there is little danger of this new/old Afrikaner governing elite abusing its privileged position by returning to the worst of the bad old days but, make no mistake, it will certainly result in the re-introduction of some elements of the bad old days because that is what the current situation demands -- there is no such thing as a free lunch. It would though mean there is every possibility of South Africa looking forward to some good new days.

To say it would never be allowed is not the same thing as it being impossible. But, alas for South Africans, close enough.
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 21, 22, 23, 24  Next

Jump to:  
Page 22 of 24

MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group