21 thoughts on “Listen”

  1. We were all dutifully following coverage of the UK budget across all meeja and standing back in amazement at the sight of Corbyn in a proper suit, clean shirt and a tie.


  2. The title of your previous post is now very appropriate in view of Osborne’s budget Sugar Tax. Did you have prior warning? Has the Janus family stocked up on tonic before the price rise hits? Why didn’t you warn the rest of us? I had to have a stiff G&T yesterday when I heard the news. How can something as bitter as tonic water have sugar in it?

    The pathetic headlines I have seen is that this tax will “hit the poor”, but I don’t understand why. I have a terrible vision of the EU leaping on this bandwagon and sticking probes into Spanish oranges or peaches to ascertain whether they have too much natural sugar? Though I notice that now some UK supermarkets are selling misshapen vegetables, as a specialty. Crooked cucumbers, bent bananas, amusingly shaped potatoes, what next?

  3. C, to Simon and Garthingy akshully.

    Sheona, sorry, if I’d told you, I’d have been confined to a foreign embassy.

  4. Janus do you wonder it is quiet? Nobody has anything interesting or contentious to say or if they do, they are censored. This site is bland, bland, bland. It was not always that way. One liners don’t cut it.

  5. Sipu, at the moment I spend more time reading the German news to find out what Merkel is going to do about the hundreds of thousands of unemployables she has invited in. As I recollect, the UK was warned that if it didn’t get in sharpish, all the best migrants would be snapped up by Germany. It now appears that there is a distinct shortage of “best”. Germany has discovered that most of these migrants have no knowledge of German and require to be taught (up to level B2 according to FAZ) before they can be trained for anything useful. Those who claim to have been trained as joiners or builders or such have to be tested to ascertain their level of competence and then taught German, which takes a few years. Lots of courses have been set up, but the various Lรคnder are complaining that it is not up to them to fund these out of their own budgets And there are those migrants whose experience of work was helping out in their cousin’s take-away somewhere in Syria and who are not up for the steady application required in Germany. All the stories of Germany and Sweden providing a flat and money have proved to be just that – stories – so there is a high drop-out rate. Well Angela said “Wir schaffen das”, which seems to be as meaningful as Obama’s “Yes we can” tag. Her attempts to shove thousands of her guests on to other EU countries will mean that the migrants will have to learn Magyar or Slovak or Polish and I can assure them that none of those are any easier than German.

    This article from Spiegel suggests that there may be a solution.


    So there is a definite Schadenfreude as I read the German press. It’s your problem, Merkel, you sort it out and then deal with the thousands shivering in camps in Greece and the hundreds of thousands more waiting to cross the Med shortly. It’s not a European problem and the UN should be taking action and pressuring the muslim states to write the word “humanitarian” into their lexicon.

  6. Sheona, refugees here who want to be ‘accepted’ have to learn Danish, a minority language which is useless anywhere else. So there is mo prospect they will move later! Now that’s what I call self-defeating.

  7. From what I heard from a former colleague whose mother was Danish, it seems these language lessons might also have a high drop-out rate. Most of these migrants have no idea about Scandinavian winters either.

  8. Sheona: That story is very telling — more and more choose to leave simply because dealing with German bureaucracy is far too tedious and painful. They also realise that life in Germany is far, far too different for them and that they miss life in the Islamic world. One thing that bothered me in Germany was that I’m simply far too old to live there again — and I’m a 30-year-old, German-speaking citizen with foreign qualifications. By the time they’re capable of doing anything in Germany the war will likely either be winding down or finished and they are unlikely to be granted anything more permanent as there simply aren’t funds or spaces for them. You may also find what Swedes have been doing of late most amusing. They no longer house many in Malmo, Stockholm or Gotherborg. Instead, they send them to Jokkmokk, Lulea and Kiruna — all in the far north. For people used to heat and consistent light the cold, black winters and tepid, unending days of summer absolutely kill them and many are desperate to leave.

    J: Perhaps, but Denmark hasn’t been as inundated as other countries. To their credit the Danes have made it clear that they’re not interested in taking in too many gimmegrants and this has largely worked. Oddly, most Swedes aren’t really thrilled with their government’s immigration policies, either. The only difference is that the Finns, Norwegians and Danes have at least paid some attention to their voters’ concerns.

  9. Sheona: a common complaint about Svenskundervisning fรถr invandrare, or Swedish-language classes for immigrants, is that the teachers and students constantly change so it’s difficult to establish a consistent, conducive environment for learning. Another issue is the general unwillingness of Scandinavians to help others speak their languages. If pressed they will, but generally they immediately switch to English — and then only grudgingly. I’ve tried to convince Viking-type chum to help me learn Danish but he rarely teaches me more than a word or two. This is completely different from places like Spain where they’re more than happy to help you and are very patient.

  10. It won’t be, Janus. Male-type grandparent suffered a severe stroke and died in hospital early this morning. Female-type parent and I are flying to Germany to attend his funeral. It will be emotionally draining.

  11. Thank you, Shona and Janus.It wasn’t entirely unexpected. He was to turn 87 next month and had suffered a series of strokes through the years, but it’s still not a pleasant thing to happen.

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