The Sunday Splash

The distraction of the Urgent when tackling the Important

It’s been an interesting preface to the Sundays. Hugo Chavez opted for après moi le déluge and approved a devaluation of his Bolivar by 46%, Yannis Stournaras denied rumours of an imminent property tax increase for the already leeched Greeks (which means it’s about to happen), an Italian hung Parliament looked increasingly like the certainty that will produce more uncertainty there, and all the incremental cash resulting from the $600 billion surge in the Fed’s excess reserves went on supporting the subsidiaries of foreign banks operating on US soil.

For what it’s worth, while all tax revenues in the Hellenic Republic are massively down because few folks have any money, revenues from the various taxes on property have registered a massive 77.7% yearly increase. The logic of all taxmen is “it works, let’s do more of it”…and so the Stournaras denial is deeply suspicious. And the ‘philanthropy’ of the US re foreign banks came in the same week that several commentators foresaw problems for the Almighty US Dollar as the settlement currency of choice in world trade.

The Fed is worried, and with good reason. Muck about with the currency too much, and this is what happens. Many folks now think the USDollar is too unreliable for global trade settlement: they increasingly favour a gold-based solution, where value is perceived more clearly, and the thus far ignored super currency Gold is the basis. “The USDollar will be isolated, ignored, shunned, then put to death by the Americans themselves during its uncontrollable fever,” wrote Jim Willie encouragingly.

From such apparently small news hints do world-shattering events follow. We shall see. In the meantime, the British Sundays are as always obsessed with local events. The Sunday Telegraph follows up on its food contamination story, saying that supermarket food is undergoing urgent testing for horse meat. The urgent is thus once more overtaking the important, in that America now admits it will grow faster than most advanced economies in 2013, but the downside will be an even wider trade deficit. You read it here first.

Polish and Italian mafia gangs are thought to be running scams to substitute horsemeat for beef adds the Guardian, along with a story on Associated British Foods being accused of tax avoidance in Zambia. There is, however, no coverage (again) of why food prices are being billed as set to rise worldwide….in the context of mysterious trade-group discussions taking place around the globe outside Europe.

The Mail on Sunday features the attack by a suburban fox on a baby. The child was rushed to St Thomas’ Hospital after the attack in suburban Bromley, South-East London. Five years ago, the House of Commons spent 213 hours debating whether or not to allow the hunting of foxes. I don’t hunt myself, and don’t care much for those who do; but the wooly concern of the Left with the survival of a vermin population already out of control may well be coming home to roost. While the tattered feathers of Old Labour were enjoying their success in saving Freddie Fox, the bankers went ignored, and it was left to Vince Cable and others to point out why they were about to bankrupt the country.

Sticking to the oppressed minorities script however, the Mirror reports a ‘gay hate shocker’ on the Coronation Street set, which ‘has been rocked by a homophobia scandal after staff complained that hate-filled comments were made on the ITV1 show’s set’. The usual ‘zero tolerance’ bollocks was released by the show’s producers, employing as ever the classic ‘completely unacceptable’ mantra. Trending at the paper were Paul Gascoigne, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood. Of the appalling paedophile case at Chethams School (and predictable subsequent suicide) was there no sign at all. Perhaps Harriet Harman works nights as a news editor on the Sunday Mirror these days.

It falls to the TM stable’s other title in fact – the Sunday People – to write about the cultural obscenity of paedophile cover-ups. Today the People notes how senior Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens blew the whistle on VIP abuse of kids with a 50-page dossier about ‘suspected paedophile rings, police misconduct and abuse of boys in a care home’…..in 1984. Oddly enough, the file then duly disappeared.

The Home Secretary at the time was none other than Mr Leon Brittan. Just fancy that.

This is a crackerjack story, because while being ultra-careful, the SP points up once more just how bad the ramifications of this scandal could be for Cameron. While searching for a permanent Trade Secretary in 2010, Dave decided to hire a rough trade chap temporarily….and Leon Brittan got the job.

Finally, Jeremy Taiping-Errah is once more caught out by the Indie on Sunday, which notes that – while the uncivilised practice of the very old having to sell their homes to pay for care will ‘end’ (not sure that’s right myself) – the point at which State care can be claimed will be after £75,000 of the victim’s own money has already been spent.

It’s quite iniquitous of course (and totally unaffordable for most people) but typical of the political class’s utter failure to deal with a demographic time-bomb…and of *unt’s never-ending cynicism. So I’m grateful to one regular Slogger for pointing out to me this very funny online mickey take at The Supplement:

‘The Health Secretary Mr Jeremy Hunt has announced that elderly people requiring long-term care will be given the choice of paying £75,000 towards nursing home fees, or a free visit to Mr Sweeney Todd’s salon. Mr Hunt has asked us to point out that despite the name, there is no connection between his educational company Hotcourses, and the hot savoury dishes manufactured by Mr Todd and Mrs Lovett.’

Excellent.

Yesterday at The Slog: What good are Britain’s professionals?

71 thoughts on “The Sunday Splash

  1. Bromley council was the the first to privatised their buses. Oh what fun it was to ride on them and pay more as they happily crashed into houses . And went their merrily way putting local coach tour companies out of business.
    Fox hunting clubs also hunted domestic cats when they ran out of foxes, still its small and furry so what’s the problem.
    I wonder if Mr brittan would like to donate to the policemens ball in the hope this dreadful tittle tattle might go away.

  2. When I think of fox hunting, an image of Stephen Hester immediately springs to mind, and of course a £390m fine for the bank for Libor rigging, subsequently followed by a £780K bonus for ‘ol Fester, presumably for overseeing the scandal?
    It’s a lot worse than just the lunatics running the asylum….

  3. Re. the ‘fox’ story, I keep wondering why a starving fox would drag a baby along by its finger, sever said finger and then helpfully drop it, so it can be re-attached……..I’d expect it to swallow it ravenously. Or did the finger become separated from the baby due to something else??
    Perhaps I missed something?

    • I’m continually of the opinion that random animal/human maulings are not worthy of national news, if only because such stories are so open to misuse as unfit headline diversions. Neither fox, nor bird, nor neighbouring dogs or cats have ever made it into my home. I thus have a natural sense that idiocy or neglect or both, are at the root of such attacks. In the news they belong entirely as ‘and finallys’ or page 5 filler, just as wild animal attacks in other countries are. I don’t think the fox was sneaking from house to house in leather gloves looking for windows to slip into and children to snatch. That’s the government pedo’s…

      • You’re quite correct. No cat flap. I don’t believe in animals living with humans being healthy. Thus no foxes either. So I’m actually right… If we cull the cats, block up their flaps, we eliminate the fox mauling baby problem. Simples.

  4. Fox attacks baby , cats, gerbils, small children etc is a long running spew diatribe of misinfo that’s be going on for ages. Any one care to guess why. As if its not fecking obvious.
    Go back a bit with story about a vet who shot a ‘giant’ fox that had eaten a cat. That was exposed when this vet bloke was connected to a local hunt.

    • Never been to a hunt in my life but if I had I fail to see how that would automatically make me a liar.
      I suspect people like you would deny reality even if some animal was chewing their leg off!
      Foxes are predatory scavengers…get over it.

  5. “The Health Secretary Mr Jeremy Hunt has announced that elderly people requiring long-term care will be given the choice of paying £75,000 towards nursing home fees, or a free visit to Mr Sweeney Todd’s salon.”

    While we all can be very tempted to comapare the present situation to Orwell’s 1984,….as admittedly I have commented before…..Soylent Green looks to me to be a more likely vision of the future…particularly right now !

    It may be Horsemeat in your Findus Lasagne for the past year, but when some government somewhere can no longer afford to keep all its demographically vague-minded wrinklies alive……watch this space !

    btw. IF this looks like a EU wide conspiricy to defraud…..what exactly have The Sprouts been doing to test and regulate the meat in our EU wide Food Chain for the last year? Why can the French slap a unilateral order on British Meat, Chickens or Eggs the moment any MSM mentions a possible problem at one UK farm, but our Food Minister says we cannot ban Polish, Rumaninan or Irish meat until this is sorted out, as it is against EU laws ?

    • Because in a lot of countries in the EU horsemeat in the foodchain is perfectly legal. The fact it is illegal within the UK is a sovereign issue and of UK agencies to enforce within the UK.

      Any breech of EU regulation will be if it crossed borders described as beef when in fact it wasn’t. Enforcement of the ‘final furlong’ is a UK matter.

      • A very astute point. Further to that it would seem that companies trying to cut costs were importing meat from Romania (or wherever). Knowing how weak the regulations were in the UK – they took the very reasonable decision to take the chance that it would not be looked into.

        Just how many years have these companies been doing this? A decade, several decades?

        Just how long has the UK government known about this and still done nothing. After all, the longer it goes on, the harder it is to deal with (the embarassment factor). Once the con-men know the target is hooked, they know they’ve won. It’s worked for the banks too.

      • Which is why the approach is to use the law on correct labelling of foodstuffs rather than any ‘health’ issue. However, as Findus and the supermarkets will find out to their cost, their market share will tank spectacularly. At last something for local butchers to smile about.

      • If you can get horse meat at 10% of the cost of beef someone’s been making a tidy little profit. I bet the authorities will never own up to the full extent of this lucrative little deception and wouldn’t be surprised if some of the supermarkets were quietly in on it.

      • I don’t believe that horsemeat is illegal in the UK – some folk may have a moral issue about eating it, but that’s for them to decide.
        The only legal issue here is one of mis-labelling, the source of which is undoubtedly the strung-out trans-EU supply-chain, where quality assurance from one member state is automatically accepted by all other member states, thus enabling substitution or passing-off on a grand scale.

        It’s the same problem source as those PIP breast implants a year or so ago – because they had French approval, that qualified them for use in the UK without further validation.

        Common source – the EU.
        Common solution – leave immediately.

      • Mudplugger “The only legal issue here is one of mis-labelling, the source of which is undoubtedly the strung-out trans-EU supply-chain, where quality assurance from one member state is automatically accepted by all other member states” – no. The company concerned is still responsible for its own product’s labels. If that company thinks it can get away with it – which after the example of the banks they should have thought as quite reasonable in the circumstances. The problem is not the EU – it is the failure of the UK to enforce its own trading standards.

        Ian W “At last something for local butchers to smile about.” Are there any left within 25 miles? Many will have succumbed to the pressures of consumerism in the form of Tescos and Aldi.

      • @GNR
        As I understand it, the retailers’ actual legal responsibilities are only to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to validate their suppliers’ labelling. Thus Tesco, Findus, Lidl, etc will slip easily off the legal hook.
        If the ‘benefit’ of EU membership is so poor that every member state has to conduct its own extensive re-testing because it can’t trust any other member state, that that’s just another costly non-benefit to add to the £50m a day we already pour into that black-hole.
        Solution – leave immediately – there’s no benefit to being in.

      • I think that is best left to the legal department. Mind you, it’s no way to run a reputable business.

        As an aside, why is it legal to sell meat with 10% water added to it? Not only in the EU – but in the US and elsewhere too? Something tells me that people are clutching at straws trying to keep their businesses afloat by fraudulent methods.

    • I heard that the Rumanian meat was deep frozen (-40°) over forty years ago. It isn’t a ‘food chain’ it’s a mafia ‘network’.

      • Am I reading that correctly? Are you saying some of the meat was decades old? Or is this tongue in cheek, some joke I’m not getting?

      • @Mo – “I heard that the Rumanian meat was deep frozen (-40°) over forty years ago”.

        If that was really the case UK Foods Standards Agency would be calling a press conference tomorrow and blaming Nicolae Ceauşescu for the great horse meat swindle. Who knows perhaps the Ceauşescu’s secretly owned shares in Findus.

        30 years ago under communism the people of Romania were literally starving to death under the crackpot Ceauşescu regime. I’m sure that if they’d had any spare frozen horse meat in the freezer they would have eaten it themselves. That story sounds rather far fetched.

  6. Pingback: John Ward – The Sunday Splash – The Distraction Of The Urgent When Tackling The Important – 10 February 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  7. Lot of misunderstanding regarding foxes. They self-regulate their own population to suit availability of territory and food, If you kill foxes, non-breeding foxes will move in from neighbouring zones, and become breeding foxes.

    Urban areas provide far more food & shelter than rural therefore foxes need smaller territories which is why the majority of the fox population is now urbanised or semi-urbanised. Derelicts and believe it or not garden decking are ideal den sites.

    They are opportunist scavengers and will take food wherever they find it. They eat rubbish such as rotting carcasses, afterbirth during lambing season etc etc burying it to store – hence the myth about them killing for the sake of killing – they don’t. If they get in a chicken coop for instance, they will kill all the chickens – then they will take one away and bury it, Come back, pick up another, take that away and bury it and so on. What usually happens is they get interrupted in the process leaving people with the impression they have gone on a killing spree to no purpose. They also eat birds eggs, rats & mice, reptiles, insects, berries, small pets etc etc.

    They are notoriously brazen in the persuit of food- especially once they are confident. You should go to Manchester to the infamous Rusholme ‘curry mile’ at 4 in the morning and you will see them begging for bits of burger andf kebab from passers-by and sitting patiently by the street litter bins.

    • Striker. I am not so sure about your theory in the first paragraph. As a top tier predator, the fox will continue mate and produce fit offspring depending on food supply. If you would be so kind as to point me in the direction of any studies which suggest otherwise,I would be most grateful.

      • You could read: “Spacing strategies, kin selection, and population regulation in altricial vertebrates” Tobjorn von Schantz 1984. or
        “Behavioral changes associated with a population density decline in the facultatively social red fox” Lossa, Soulsbury, Baker, Edwards, Harris; 2008
        Both available through Google Scholar
        I am sure there are others. The subject of ‘population ecology’ and territoriality seems to be quite popular.

      • It is long known in the countryside that a dominant male will hog the best ground, and the younger foxes will lurk in the boundaries between one territory and another, waiting for a powerful fox to die or weaken from illness.

        My father and his fellow shepherds used to shoot any fox which became a nuisance, but were otherwise philosophical: if you kill one fox, six come to the funeral…

      • Sorry to all, but I got a bee in my bonnet about foxes, and I hope i may appreciate John’ tolerance of such a diversion. Having read suggested papers and also “Variation in the social system of the red fox” by Paolo Cavallini, I am still led to believe that under optimum conditions of ample food and den sites, the fox population will tend towards breeding out previously acquired instincts of controlled offspring dispersal and monogamy, and the population will continue unchecked and polygamous. This leads to more dispersed young males in urban areas and the potential for incidents as have been reported in recent years, especially as their instinct regarding man as a predator have also mostly disappeared.
        As for the horsemeat story, if people wish to buy food from the private equity asset strippers, what else do they expect. Buy British/local especially your daily pinta!

  8. Did they not have Camel meat in Mongolia?

    Very healthy and approved by the Australian Heart Foundation. I was thinking that in light of the French excursions into Mali, we might see this on the menu soon? ..

  9. Well,clearly this horsemeat lasagne scandal is down to insider trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange,and the antics of the Spangero brothers,who knew a few things about throwing the punches at the first line out,last time I played them at the old Parc des Princes.Chavez has just decreed his people must be 46 percent poorer,Kirchner has banned freepress advertising,and confirmed inflation is under control,France has announced Peugeot is in robust form,the Italian banking system has made a miraculous recovery,and, yes,Madrid has found a way to revalue 2 million of unsold properties,currently propping up the balance sheets of Santander et al.I was over in the States for a bit of heliskiing,and the official jobs,growth and equity prices were great.On my return,great news,NHS employees not responsible for 1,000 deaths in MidStaffs,,and another outbreak of BSE in Bristol,in a children’s hospital.I don’t smell greed,but fear,and a rerun of 1973-4.

  10. Interesting, JW, that you refer to the “appalling paedophile case” at Chetham’s school, involving a 14-15 year old girl( reports contain both these ages) , whereas you regarded the Forrest -Stammers affair as a storm in a teacup and thought the “lovers” should be left to their own devices, despite the fact that, by her own testimony, Fran Storney did not regard herself as a victim at the time, and indeed craved the “love” she was shown. Mike Brewer may have been a little older than Forrest but he was similarly a married man, and in a position of authority. I don’t get your distinction.

      • @MaxC – my understanding of it is that she was willing indeed at the time, and only as an adult had second thoughts about his behaviour. In any case , willing is something that an immature person might well be, but they are still being exploited and set up for emotional problems for their later life.

  11. Eating horse meat is not the problem. Horse meat instead of beef is fraud but the serious question is, what did the horses die of and did they receive any drugs that would not be allowed in the human food chain.
    Horse meat wont do you any harm but what might be within the meat might.

    • I thought if you became Pope you were expected to die in office.
      Has he not really resigned because of his alleged involvement in the covering up of the Catholics churches paedophilia scandal? Perhaps someone has now uncovered the smoking gun and he’s decided to retire quickly in order to save the religion any further embarrassment.
      It all seems very sudden.

      • @wfd

        Absolutely or should that be absolution?:
        The Ring of the Fisherman, also known as the Piscatory Ring, Annulus Piscatoris (in Latin) and the Anello Piscatorio (in Italian), is an official part of the regalia worn by the Pope, who is head of the Catholic Church and successor of Saint Peter, who was a fisherman by trade. It features a bas-relief of Peter fishing from a boat, a symbolism derived from the tradition that the apostles were “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). The Fisherman’s Ring is a signet used until 1842 to seal official documents signed by the Pope.[1]“

  12. I wonder if he’ll still be infallible? And with the new one that will mean there will be 2 blokes on the planet that will claim infallibility.
    And can Ex-Non Infallible Popes be bought to ‘Earthly’ justice for the many Crimes he has helped commit, or covered up?
    Bless him

    • Given his heritage it might have been better for all if he had resigned in the more traditional German manner of bottle of schnapps and Luger.

  13. Don’t know what the going rate for horsemeat is but gold just hit a new low of 13.9 barrels of Brent Crude per Oz, either BC is overpriced or AU is underpriced but something is going on in the market.
    My take is, assets are being flushed out from underperforming risk free (treasurys and PMs) into short term risk based performing (equities).

    This is your pension fund !!.

    (but don’t worry, there are a whole new load of novice investors coming on board due to autoenrollment who will get skinned first)

    And then they will turn on the old – give it 10 to 15 years
    (demographics is a bitch)

    They will reap what you have sown. (I don’t imagine they will be sympathetic)

    • ‘They ” will not turn on the old, because the old are their parents. The only people turning on the old are those investing in aged care. Every penny you have saved over your life time is going to be vacuumed up by the investors in old peoples homes, with the help of legislation from “our” government. God bless the lobbyists, and thank you to all those people who have created jobs via lobbyists.

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