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’… 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.’


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