Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Cheryl Cole Off To USA

Cheryl Cole is off to the US of A to appear as a judge on the new X-Factor although that pesky ABH charge against her may prove to be a sticking point when it comes to filling out her work visa.
Cheryl was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in 2003 for pummelling toilet attendant Sophie Amogbokpa at a nightclub after Mrs Amogbokpa stopped her from taking some lollipops.
She was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay her victim £500 in compensation. The judge told her 'This was an unpleasant piece of drunken violence which caused Sophie Amogbokpa pain and suffering. You showed no remorse whatsoever'.
Mrs Amogbokpa told how the singer had racially abused her while punching her but the charge of racial assault was thrown out of court because the witness spoke to the press before court so it was discredited.
The US Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual states that a visa application will be turned down if the consular officer has reason to believe that the applicant has 'committed a crime involving moral turpitude' which includes assault and causing serious bodily harm.
I am sure that a little thing like an ABH conviction will not stop Cheryl from appearing on American television over the next few years and maybe even lip-syncing to her latest release as she did here while critiquing other peoples singing.
If she does, as expected, get through the visa application stage she still has that deep Geordie accent to scupper it for her.
Fellow Geordie's Ant & Dec were told by American network bigwigs that their speech was 'incomprehensible' when they tried to crack the US market in 2007 with game show Wanna Bet? and biffer Cole's accent is stronger than either of theirs.
Whatever happens to her, and i can't pretend that i particularly care, we can be sure that dear, fragile, brave Cheryl will always be a hit here in the UK. Here and in nightclub toilets.

Monday, 29 November 2010

North Korea And Prince Andrew

The Wikipedia leaks were supposed to be making the American leadership uncomfortable but it seems there may be a few backsides shuffling uneasy on seats in Beijing and Pyongyang tonight.
China seems to be distancing itself from its North Korean ally according to the latest leaked US embassy document that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their ally as a 'spoiled child'.
It also admits that a growing view within the Chinese Communist Party is that Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control which won't go down well in North Korea as it's bodyguard moves slowly to one side.
Another document from today's batch show that the senior Royal who acted inappropriately was Prince Andrew.
No, he didn't actually pay for something or do anything as drastic as work, at a dinner for business leaders, he was cocky and rude and labelled 'idiocy' the serious fraud squad investigation into the BAE bribery scandal.
So Prince Andrew is obnoxious, arrogant and a bit dim. Nothing we didn't already know there then.

Leslie Nielsen

There are lots of tributes to Leslie Nielsen all over the internet and he was undoubtedly a great comic actor.

There is not much i can add to what everyone else is saying but he had two scenes, both in Airplane, that make me laugh now although i have heard them both a thousand times and know exactly what is coming.

This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
A hospital? What is it?
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.


Surely you can't be serious.
I am serious...and don't call me Shirley

Just brilliant.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Let The Leaking Begin!

The great US Embassy cables leak has started to be distributed through 5 media outlets in the USA, UK, Spain, France and Germany. This much information will take a while to work through but the first revelations are that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the USA to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme and officials in Jordan and Bahrain have also openly called for Iran's nuclear programme to be stopped by any means, including military.

It has also been revealed that Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK. The document signed by Hillary Clinton asked for credit card numbers, email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers and biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives to be collected.

World leaders to be bad mouthed include:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who plays Robin to Putin's Batman.
Kim Jong-il of North Korea is called a flabby old chap who suffered from physical and psychological trauma.
Thin-skinned and with an authoritarian personal style is the description of French
President Nicholas Sarkozy.
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader with a penchant for partying.
Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is an extremely weak man who did not listen to facts and is easily swayed by even the most bizarre stories.
Yemen President, Ali Abdullah Saleh is dismissive, bored and impatient.
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, is the crazy old man.
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, is strange.
Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu never keeps his promises.
German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, is incompetent, vain and critical of America.

Spying and collecting personal information on senior UN Members, being urged to attack Iran and insulting World leaders and this is only the first day. It is going to be a long week for the American leadership.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

UK Government Issue DA-notice

A Defence Advisory Notice is something the Government hands down to the media and is essentially a request for the media to not report on something 'in the national interest'. Prince Harry being in Afghanistan is a recent example.
Today, the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC) has made a request to newspaper editors, television and radio broadcasters concerning the soon to be published documents sent between the US State Department and its embassy's around the World.
The DA Notice (standings 01 Military operations & 05 UK Security) is not ordering a blackout of the story and any publication that ignore it is not going to end up in court, but it is a firm reminder that the print and broadcast media should be concerned for disclosing 'information which could damage national security'. It has asked that editors consult with the DPBAC before they publish any information.
The countries said to be the main beneficiaries of the most intensive US diplomatic briefings are the governments of Great Britain, Canada, Israel, Australia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Denmark, Italy and Norway.
It seems that whatever is due to be released, it is going to be diplomatic dynamite and hugely embarrassing for the United States.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has closed the comments section on the story on its website.
I expect the British media to largely ignore the DA Notice because on the age of the internet, it is going to be all over blogs and websites before the newspapers hit the newstands.
Nothing stays secret for very long and this DA Notice has been rendered redundant already and the US State Department will be squirming for a long time to come over the exposure of its backroom dealings.

Friday, 26 November 2010

America Said What???

My Grandmother always told me not to say anything about somebody that you wouldn't say to their face as the truth will always come out. Shame the Americans never had a similar Granny to pass on pearls of wisdom because it is now forced to scuttle around the globe warning of the imminent release of millions of embarrassing and sensitive diplomatic documents sent between the State Department and it's embassy's.
The communications, said to include candid remarks about world leaders, ambassadors and foreign leaders, are expected to be published by Wikileaks and the US State Department has condemned the actions of the website as 'gratuitous and likely to harm relations and erode trust between countries'.
I love the idea that the State Department have been ferreting through their archives trying to discover exactly what derogatory remarks they have made about other leaders and then trying to convince them that what they actually meant when they said the Prime Minister was a toadying bootlicker was a great honour in their country. Honest Tony, the Bootlicking Toad is much revered for its bravery and erm, leadership qualities in Albuquerque.
The US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said about the impending leaks 'This is harmful to our national security. These revelations are going to create tension in our relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.' Not your emails slagging them off creating the tension then PJ?
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said 'Obviously, the Government has been briefed by US officials, by the US ambassador, as to the likely content of these leaks. We don't want to speculate about precisely what is going to be leaked before it is leaked'.
I would like to point out that before the citizens of the offended countries reach for their keyboards to lob brickbats back at Americans, the term 'burger eating invasion monkey' has already gone as i snapped that one up years ago.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Dealing With North Korea

It does seem that North Korea is spoiling for a fight. It sank a South Korean navy ship earlier in the year and this week fired over 200 artillery shells onto the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing four people.
Where it all gets a bit tense is that North Korea is an ally of China and South Korea an ally of the United States. Throw in the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and it has the potential to be highly dangerous.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's health has deteriorated rapidly after his recent strokes and the thinking is that this is the handiwork of his son and successor, Kim Jong Un, who is keen to show his southern neighbours and US protectors that he will not be an easy touch when it comes to the negotiating table.
China is aware that if military action is taken against North Korea, it faces an influx of millions of refugees crossing over its borders so it holds back from outright condemnation of North Korea's attack, only urging both sides to 'retain calm and restraint and engage in talks as quickly as possible in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again'.
The White House said that 'We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally in South Korea and we're fully committed to their defense.' America, has now sent US aircraft carrier the USS George Washington to the Korean peninsula for four days of naval exercises with the South Korean Navy which North Korea has warned will drive the peninsula 'closer to the brink of war'.
All very tense and reminiscent of the sort of dances that took place with the US and Soviets during the Cold War, but with so many potential flash points that we can only hope that the Chinese can rein in their hot-headed ally. As a wannabe super-power, it has to take on a greater share of the responsibility and as America has found out, if you don't choose your friends carefully, you can bring down a whole load of trouble on your own head.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Not Loving The Tories So Far

The Conservative Party do have a bit of an image problem. They are widely considered to be a bunch of millionaires out of touch with the rest of the general public who run things for the benefit of their rich pals.
Of course they bend over backwards to portray another image, even quoting 'compassionate conservatism' whenever they get an opportunity but once in a while some Tory minister will pop his head up and remind us of all the reasons why the Conservatives were kept out of power for the last 13 years.
Up first was Lord Young the Conservative enterprise advisor who said many Britain's had 'never had it so good' despite the 'so-called recession'. He later apologised for any offence that his comments caused and added another one to the growing list of recently unemployed.
This weeks Conservative party numpty is Howard Flight a peerage nomination and former deputy chairman of the party who has apologised for saying changes to welfare payments would give people on benefits "every incentive" to "breed".
It's too late now for people to listen to the Tories and see the effect they are having on public services and suddenly remember that actually, i forgot just how much of a bunch of idiots they were last time because we are stuck with them.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bailing Out Ireland

Being the thoroughly decent chaps that we are, we have dug deep to lend Ireland £7 billion.
Chancellor George Osborne said that it was 'overwhelmingly in Britain's national interest to contribute to a major bailout'.
Now i am all for spreading around the wealth but hasn't George Osborne just been telling us we are broke and he had no choice but to cut 500,000 public service jobs, slash benefits and shut down public services through lack of money?
So where did he suddenly spring the £7 billion from to hand to Ireland?

a>The Government are giving Ireland what they saved by the deficit reduction programme.
b>Britain wasn't as stoney broke as the Government made out.
c>We are borrowing £7 billion from somewhere to give to Ireland.

If the answer is a, then we should all be turning up at Millbank armed with flaming torches because we have been decimated to bail out another countries banks.
If it's b then we should still turn up at Millbank because the Government has cut us to the bones for no reason.
If the answer turns out to be c then we now need to find £176 billion from somewhere rather than just £170 billion.
Whatever the reason, Ireland is up the swanee because it spent outside of its means and has borrowed too much money...and the solution is to lend them tens of billions more.


There is a famous quote that states given enough time, a thousand monkeys typing at random would, produce all of Shakespeare's plays. A hundred monkeys given a few weeks would turn out an episode of Seinfeld and one monkey, given 20 minutes and a bottle of extra strong Russian vodka would produce one of the right wing milblogs polluting the internet.
That's the great thing about blogging, anyone and everyone can do it so we end up with blogs about cats, sports, politics and just about anything you can think of as well as some you don't really want to think about. Sometimes it is better to just let people think you are a racist bigot rather than create a blog and remove all doubt.
Considering that bloggers come from a wide arena of backgrounds and opinions, Technorati have conducted a survey of bloggers and used the data collected to create a profile of the people sat behind the keyboards.
The survey showed that 49% of bloggers are American and 29% European with the majority of bloggers being male and aged between 18 and 44.
1 out of 3 have worked in the media in some capacity and 80% have a higher education qualification and run three or more blogs and have been blogging for two or more years.
They spend an average of 10 hours a week blogging and the biggest influence for topics to post about are from conversations with friends and from reading other blogs.
53% conceal their identity with the greatest reason being there employer might disapprove of their views and 1% wishing they had concealed it better as they had been fired for their blogging.
The most blogged about topics are technology, politics and current affairs and 87% have a Facebook account and 36% make money from their blog.
So there we have it, the person at the other end of the blog is probably male, American, educated and almost certainly has a Facebook account.
Alternatively, they could be a sozzled monkey writing about what the World needs is more guns.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

What's The Point Of Susan Boyle?

Throughout the history of music, there has been a few notable cover versions but generally the original is the best version.
Whitney improved 'I will always love you' by Dolly, The Clash took the Crickets 'I fought the law' and made it a 100 times better and Tom Waits must refuse to listen to his own version of 'I don't want to grow up' after The Ramones picked it up and made a magnificent silk purse out of it.
There have been a few more notable exceptions but covers are mostly rubbish and have always appeared amazingly lazy to me.
Shows like Pop Idol and X-Factor are a particular sore point because the victor will push out a cover version as a single followed by an album of standard ballads and then disappear until the next year when it happens all over again with a new winner.
Although she didn't find fame through X-Factor but via another of Simon Cowell's money spinning vehicles, Susan Boyle is treading the same well worn path and has released another album with not an original song in sight. As it presently sits top of the UK and US album charts, there are obviously many people who don't share my view and actually like a very average singer belting out songs that they have heard many times, and by better artists, before.
If i was a songwriter i would be banging my head against a nearby table in frustration that someone can come along, sing somebody else's tunes and make millions from it. Not change it or make any alterations at all, just reproduce it verbatim and with the help of a world-wide public relations team, clean up.
I have nothing against Susan Boyle, she has done very well to stretch the little talent she has so far, but it is a sad day for music that she is the most popular artist at this time.
A triumph for the power of advertising and hype but water boarding for the ears to music lovers and if that is all she is ever going to do, and it seems likely, you have to wonder what is the point of her.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Prince WIlliam, Katie & Howard Donald

Great news that Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced their engagement and are planning the wedding for next year. Not that i care about any Royal wedding, i was bored of it before the announcement had even finished being read out, the great part is we get a day off. Just hope they get married on a Friday, long weekend woo hoo.
As the UK news media go wall to wall with the Kate and William engagement, it's worth remembering that politicians love nothing better than a major news story to release unfavourable news while everyone is looking the other way.
Labour special adviser Jo Moore was caught red handed sending out an email on 11 September 2001 suggesting 'It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury' to the Labour Press Office as both the World Trade Center towers burned.
Leaked emails also showed the Press Office being chastised by the Minister of Transport for wanting to use the day of Princess Margaret's funeral in 2002 to release disappointing railway statistics.
A quick scan through the news headlines this evening show that nothing unfavourable has been released so far. David Cameron has dropped plans to put his photographer on the public payroll and former Guantanamo Bay inmates will receive governments payouts for the Government complicity in their torture although that story came out yesterday.
The biggest winner so far is Take That's Howard Donald who picked the perfect day for the courts to lift his super-injunction naming him in a kiss and tell story a former girlfriend was hiking around to the highest bidder.
As any gossip magazine will tell you, you don't go to all the trouble of gaining a super-injunction unless you are facing some severely embarrassing, relationship wrecking or image damaging revelations if they were made public and reported in the media.
With news that the ex-girlfriend, Adakini Ntuli, had been in negotiations with the News of the World newspaper, Donald will be having his fingers crossed that his story is buried amid Royal stories this weekend.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Cheers James

Only 3 people know how close we came to a third World War and instant evaporation in 1999.
Two of them are generals and the third is a peddler of songs so sugary that his records come with a health warning from the British Diabetic Society.
The Kosovo conflict was in full cry when a regiment of British soldiers were ordered to occupy Pristina Airport but were beaten to it by a contingent of 200 Russian troops who had entered Kosovo ahead of them and took control of the airfield.
The lead officer was none other than James Blunt and he was given the order over the radio by NATO commander General Wesley Clarke to 'destroy' the Russians.
Blunt refused and was backed by British General Sir Mike Jackson, who told Clarke that he was "not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3 for you".
Blunt went on to become a singer and professional toff while Clarke was removed from his NATO position before his term was due to expire and went on to contest the 2004 US election.
Two things come out of this story. The first is who would have thought that the man who sang 'You're beautiful' is who we give our thanks to for not attacking the Russians which would have resulted in me not being here to type this and you not being sat there reading it.
Secondly, General Wesley Clarke sounds like a nutter who attempted a run at the Presidency where he would have been in charge of a nuclear armed military with no General Jackson's around to tell him to pull his head in.
Luckily, John Kerry beat him to the Democrat nomination but we had a lucky escape there. We almost had a trigger happy madman sitting in the White House from 2004 until 2008 instead of...oh yeah.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Doing The Maths

The words 'national debt' does tend to confuse me. Who are we actually in debt to and why are most countries so bad at living within their means? Like us, they must know how much comes in and how much goes out, so why can't they budget it properly?
Of course the reason is complex because it isn't physical money that is lent, it is forecasted that we will get this much from here, here and here so we can pay out this much to there, there and there. If one of the here's fall shorts it all unravels.
The US treasury puts the US debt at $14 trillion. The US Census Bureau puts the US population at 307,006,550. My calculator shows that if the debt was divided equally by the population, each American would owe $45,601.63.
The measure of the physical money supply, known as M0, shows how much physical cash there is in the economy, the sum total of every note and coin. The Federal reserve puts Americas M0 at $908 billion.
Back on the calculator and we see that $908 billion divided by the population means that if it was divided up equally, each American would own $3000 in cash.
So America, and i only use America as an example because it has the easiest M0 to find, has a debt of $14 trillion but only has $908 billion in cash. That means that even if every American gave his $3000 to the American Treasury to pay off the debt, they would still owe over $13 trillion to someone. But they only have $908 billion in actual money.
Did nobody, at any time, point out that they owe over 14 times more money than they actually have?
As this wilful dismissal of living within their means seems to have gone on in almost every country on the planet, is it any wonder the whole thing has collapsed? And why are we trusting the same people to get us out of the mess?

Friday, 12 November 2010

Another Tory Policy

Guess which of these brilliant wheezes the coalition have come up with this time are true.

McDonalds and KFC to advise on healthy eating policy
BA Tobacco to advise on anti-smoking campaign
The wine & spirit trade association to advise on sensible drinking policy

Crazy you say. You must be making them all up because no credible Government would do something so unbelievably stupid as invite any of them to make decisions on Government policy. Well you are wrong because two of them are true and have been invited to help Cameron and Clegg write Government policy. We will not be loving it but McDoanlds, KFC and the Wine & Spirit Association will be.
Not for the Tories doctors or dieticians, they have dragged in the people who's business it is to get us to drink as much alcohol and eat as much junk food as possible to advise us on what to eat and drink.
Maybe i am being cynical and KFC and McDonalds will turn out a policy which tells us to eat more fruit and vegetables and the Wine and Spirit people will suggest reducing our alcohol intake.
We are all in this together remember. Now i wonder how the talks with the cremation and cemetery committee to take over the NHS is getting on.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

1968 And All That

Five months in and already the coalition Government have faced strikes, demonstrations and now a riot that resulted in the Conservative headquarters being trashed. Not a bad start.
The group up in arms this time was the student body who will see fees treble and debts of almost £30,000 at the end of their three year degree courses while the higher education budget is slashed. As the decision was made by a coalition who include the Liberal Democrats who vowed to oppose any increase in student fees before the election, maybe they had better man the barricades at wherever there seat of power is, if they have one.
The Conservatives you expect to be evil, but the Liberal Democrats were the supposed nice party.
While violence and criminal damage can never be condoned, watching Millbank be torn apart has proved surprisingly popular with large swathes of the general public.
Even the police seemed surprisingly lacklustre in putting a stop to the rioting. Possibly because of the bad job they made of policing recent demonstrations or possibly because 40,000 of them face losing their jobs thanks to the people inside the building being ripped apart.
It does seem that finally Britain has woken up to what the Conservatives are doing and have decided to protest. The Fireman and BBC have already staged strikes while the students have now raised up and the public service is coordinating widespread strikes which will paralyse the country like we have seen in Greece.
Some historians are already making reference to the 1968 French protests which saw millions of workers and students revolt and occupy buildings while Charles de Gaulle bolted to Germany for his own safety.
It is hard to see how the coalition Government can make it to the end of their term if they have succeeded in upsetting so many people in such a short amount of time. The next four and a bit years should be fun. Dave Cameron may want to extend his trip to China because he is quickly running out of people here who he can expect a Christmas card from. Viva la revolution pet as they will be saying in Newcastle soon.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Now Lemmy Sells Out!!

Before he sold up and took his squillions of dollars to go live on a Pacific island with Richard Branson and Bill Gates, Cody and I posted a series of blogs where he would put across the right wings view and i would put the lefts.
Unfortunately for me, i picked one of the few right wingers who could string together an intelligent argument and we had some excellent exchanges on American gun laws, hunting and men v women amongst others.
One of our dual posts concerned musicians selling out and this came to my mind when i saw the pitiful sight of Lemmy not only using the magnificent 'Ace of Spades' to flog beer, but starring in the advert while doing it!
Ace of Spades is the ultimate heavy metal song, impossible to listen to without having the urge to turn the radio up as loud as it will go and play air guitar. It's a song about not playing it safe and having a gamble, taking a risk and stuff the consequences.
It also could just be about Lemmy not being very good at card games but what it isn't is a slow, mellow tune with harmonica accompaniment.
I will never be able to hear the song again without picturing Lemmy sat there surrounded by what looks like retired folk singers tapping his foot and singing the line 'The only card I need is the ace of spades' like some sort of hairy faced James Blunt.
I'm sure Lemmy doesn't need the money or the publicity, i could excuse a band fighting there way up taking Kronenbourg's money but Lemmy is a legend and this particular song an absolute classic.
Lemmy joins Johnny Rotten and Iggy Pop on my television as former icons now condemned to forever be linked less with performing iconic anthems of a generation and cranking out adverts for flat beer, margarine and car insurance. Forshame.
'see it in your eyes, take one look and die'. Pfft, your'e not wrong Mr Kilmister.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Bush's Book

In an attempt to change the perception of him as a war mongering torturer, George Bush has written a book. And sets out his defence of his wars and the use of torture. Doh!
The Bush book, 'Decision Point' has been released and has been serialised in one of the UK newspapers and what an insightful glimpse it gives us into the thinking behind the controversial decisions the former President took. It also shows us one or two other things about the man.
He has no qualms about defending the use of torture in his own book, even claiming that Guantanamo Bay and what went on there, wasn't torture at all and that it saved British lives to which the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee responded today with a doubtful 'We are not convinced'.
The most highlighted section of the book in the media is how George Bush ordered the Pentagon to plan an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and considered a covert attack on Syria on behalf of Israel.
Taking this in context with Blair's recent literary offering on how he would deal with the more troublesome countries in the Middle East, it shows that if anything, they wanted to bring even more war and destruction to the Middle East.
Bush confirms that planning for an invasion of Iraq began within two months of 9/11 and states that 'Iraq was the right thing to do' although the lowest point of his presidency was when Kanye West said he did not care about black people with regards to the slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
Not 3000 dead on 9/11, the debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan or the largest demonstration in British history when he came over here, it was a verbal attack on his reputation by a pop star.
These types of books are always written to try and put across the authors point of view, an attempt to salvage their damaged reputations.
Outside of the American bible thumping communities, George W Bush's reputation was as low as it could possibly go so he had the simple task of just not making himself sound any more like a war mongering torturer than he already had, and failed.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Bankrolling India And China

David Cameron is cosying up to the Chinese to try and get them to buy British and Obama is in India making the right noises to get them to stock their shelves with things stamped with 'Made in America' on the bottom.
China has just overtaken Japan as the World's second largest economy and Human Rights always takes a back seat when we are in salesman mode. China executing more people each year than the rest of the world combined is conveniently forgotten if we can flog them a few million barrels of whiskey which is one of the biggest exports Cameron is trying to push on them.
Just like the British leader, Obama is obliged to say all the right things to get the Indians signing on the dotted line.
Today, he stated that India should be awarded a place on the permanent members bench in the United Nations. Not sure how that will go down in Pakistan but Pakistan isn't rich so nobody much cares. Come back when you have a few Pakistan rupee's spare.
I'm not convinced about India taking its position as a superpower anytime soon, for one it is one of the largest recipients of aid of anywhere around the world.
The 2009 IMF list of the globes largest economies has India in 11th place, China in 3rd, and the Governments official development aid document shows India was handed $2.1 billion in aid and China $1.5 billion.
The UK alone donated £402 million in 2008 and since 1998, it has donated more aid to India than any other country.
Now i don't pretend to be an economist and i am all for sharing around the wealth but why are we giving money to a country in the top 3 economies and even more to a country in 11th place?
We are cutting half a million fireman, teachers and police officers jobs to save money but we are shovelling money towards India and China?
Both countries spend billions on space programmes, nuclear missiles and shiny new military toys but they still hold their hand out for aid? And we give it to them!!
If we have to tighten our belts i know exactly where the first cuts should be.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Santa's Address

It's that time of year where Santa is making his list and has began checking it twice ready to dish out lumps of coal or toys to boys and girls.
Something that has always bothered me is where does Santa live? It is important because if some jolly fat man is going to be dropping treats under my Christmas tree, i want to know what nationality he is.
I have always considered him to be from Lapland but that region takes in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia so he could be a Swede, Finn, Norwegian or even a Russian.
Not wanting to be left out by their Nordic neighbours, the Danes have thrown their hat into the already cramped ring with Santa's grotto being somewhere in Greenland.
Another popular choice for the jolly mans residence is the North Pole and as no countries ownership stretches to the centre of the North Pole region, that makes Santa a stateless person with no citizenship or nationality.
The Americans are trying to stake a claim for the bearded one with noises that he lives in Alaska while traditionalists point out that in his original guise he is from Turkey.
So where do i post my pressie list to because i want to make Santa gets it so we don't have a repeat of last year where i asked for a long wool blend coat and got a Trivial Pursuit board game instead.
It was a very nice board game mind but knowing who won the derby in 1968 doesn't keep my rapidly creaking body warm on a January morning.
As usual the Internet is the answer to all our problems and the UK Royal Mail hold Santa's address as 'Father Christmas, North Pole, SAN TA1'.
The Finnish postal service deliver Santa's letter to 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle, Finland'.
The American postal service route all Santa's letter to 'North Pole, Alaska, H0 H0 H0'.
I have been reassured that a letter posted to any of these address will reach him so if you have been good and have a request or would like to make your case that hideously scratching your husbands 'Best of The Eagles CD' with a nail file so he can't play it incessantly was an accident and shouldn't put you on the bad list, you had better get writing. The Royal Mail can only guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve if posted by the 8th December.

PS. If you are reading this Santa, a long wool coat please and my husband is requesting a new 'Best of The Eagles CD' as his doesn't seem to be working for some unknown reason.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Can he do it? Erm, nope

President Obama said that he took a shellacking at the mid terms this week but he must have expected it because America seems to be sinking further into the mire on his watch.
A much used comment was the china shop analogy where "if you break it, you own it" was much bandied around although i recall a Texan with an aversion to pretzels being the one breaking it.
Obama seems to be a victim of his own popularity. All the speeches previous to his landing in the White House seemed to give Americans false hope that he could steer the country out of the choppy waters but if anything, the waters have got a bit rougher while he has his hand on the rudder.
One threat has been the Tea Party who include a woman who may or may not be a witch but frowns upon masturbation. I don't know much about the Tea Party but they seem to have came out of the blue and in very little time, have become the third party in US politics.
If i was part of Team Obama, i would be thanking my lucky stars and hoping that they continue to grow in support because the emergence of the Tea Party could see him back in the big chair for another 4 years.
Linked to the Republicans, the Tea mob will either integrate into the Republicans or split the Republican vote.
Imagine the fun the Democrats will have when faced with dozens of candidates of the calibre of Sarah Palin when it comes to election time.
Alternatively, they will become a third party and those who would have voted Republican will now have two right wing parties to put their x alongside shaving priceless votes from the stronger Republican Party.
That said Obama is considering another round of quantitative easing to the tune of $600 billion which won't go down well while there is almost 10% unemployment and the country is already over a trillion debt. Especially with news that bankers already sky high salary and bonuses have increased 4% this year. Living in your car while looking for a job while the cause of your downfall are filling their boots isn't the best incentive for voters to give the man in charge another go.
Even with a bunch of Tea Partyers lined up against him, Obama may well be shellacked out of the door in 2 years.