Well, it has to be done. On Tuesday, next week, I will be flying out to Awestruck-and-failure for a 3 week stint. My junior attachment will be participating in something called World Scholars, an academic forum involving children from 50 countries. The event is being held in the Melbourne Convention Centre form the 18th to 21st of August. Continue reading “A home girt by sea… and one that is not.”
I came across a Grauniad leader this morning – and had to read it twice. Is this about Denmark, with the happiest people in the world?
I suppose the biggest difference a non-Dane notices over there is that most of the folk in the shopping centres (except perhaps in the few cities) are discernibly descended from Scandinavian stock. Compare that to most British towns. But there is another major difference. Since WWII we have grown used to seeing and living cheek-by-jowl with incomers of all races and persuasions; they are part of our landscape. I hate the word ‘integration’ but I would say they play a part in our society which most of us recognise and no longer resist, as we did at first. But the Danes are still where we stood after WWII! Hence the existence across that small country of 56 ‘ghettoes’, as described in the article, linked below.
After my second reading, I have had visions of PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen playing our favourite Viking, King Canute (never mind the spelling), as portrayed in fake news as a megalomaniac resisting the waves. I hope I’m wrong.
Oxbridge (wherever that may be) is accused of many sins: elitism, positive discrimination and prejudice of every shade to name but a few. And now a distinguished alumnus has voiced his view that Oxford is still getting it all wrong, admissionswise, ‘staggeringly’.
Your mates, the House of Windsor, have shown the world that the game is up. The centuries of polite condescension practised at arm’s length from popular culture came to an abrupt end amid uncomfortable glances and nervous grimaces. The gates were flung wide. No Trojan horse was required. Come on in, no contest. Canterbury had no reply to Chicago. Gospel trumped the choir boys. Oscars outnumbered Garters. Not an MP or General or billionaire in sight. Just our daily tweeters: George, Idris, David and Victoria. If Diana was the people’s princess, Harry is the champion of the chavs. Bring on the clowns? They are already here.
Missed. Missed. Missed.
It was a catalogue of misses. No wonder Scotland are tripe at football when youngsters are messing about with a football throwing it at a basketball net. Missed. And from an easy distance, no one would shoot from downtown. Missed again. Just don’t get American sports at all. Too many “Hail Mary’s” in them for my liking.
The problem, as I could see it, was that the boys were not statuesque or Sipuesque. They were too short to be stormhoopers. They needed to be the size of the mountainous, non-basketball playing, ex-FBI chief, James Comey. I wanted to shout “Chief, just jump up, and put it in the basket.”
American politics aren’t my bag of tricks either. Nonetheless, the repercussions from the firing of the FBI boss by Donald Trump is still reverberating around DC so I bought the Comey book (half price at WH…a bargain) and found it an easy read. The big guy has been promoting it stateside. I watched his performance on the BBC’s America This Week last week. Refreshingly, he answered a lot of questions the way I answer them. “I don’t know” cropped up frequently.
There is one funny incident in the early part of his biography where he describes spilling gallons of milk while working in a grocery. Apart from this Fools and Horses moment the book is rather drab. The details of the Clinton E-mail investigation and Trump Russia connections are sketchy and unfulfilling. His one on one joust with the President of the USA is an ongoing game. Which one will, ultimately, put it in the basket?
Getting organised back here in Blighty has been hampered by the wholly admirable tendency of authorities to doubt my claims to be me. They have had plenty of practice dealing with incomers of all shades and I applaud their even-handedness. Of course it would have been easier if I had kept a record of all my British identifiers – like my NHS number and the first name of my doctor almost 20 years ago – but I didn’t.
Back in the land of the Vikings, the bureaucratic logic is easier to follow. Every resident is given a ‘health card’ displaying a number. (No difference there then, unless the GB resident doesn’t register with a doctor.) This number is then used for all official registrations and services: tax, utilities, banks, insurance, local gubmint. There are supporting security systems too to avoid identity theft.
I never felt my official ID threatened my independence or limited my freedom as a citizen but it avoided the circuitous routes one has to follow here to be recognised. Generally speaking it’s in my own interest to sign up for things without complications.
But the two societies are different! Over there it is uncommon to see a post box without the occupant’s name. How very un-British that is!
Don and Kim’s unprecedented head-to-belly calls for some creative thought. Geneva won’t do – because the boy went to school nearby. Singapore is too, well, Asian. So for me, that leaves Cuba, which has all the requisites for a world title fight. History, communism, cigars, Gitmo (the honey-pot destination for serial-killers) – and proximity to Florida for the inevitable round of golf. Don claims to play off nine; no doubt matched by Kim’s as-yet-unpublished handicap. Cuba will also enable Don to show off his perhaps limited Spanish vocabulary, upstaging the (allegedly) polyglot Korean. Covfefe, por favor, barista. And Ladies and Gentlemen, your Master of Ceremonies for this headline bout is none other than the darling of the media, winner of the Nobel Prize and everybody’s best friend, Barack Obama! Enjoy!
. . . well Turnbull has, at least
By Prime Ministerial edict, from today no Government Minister (of either gender) may engage in sexual relations (of any type) with any member of his/her departmental staff (of whatever persuasion – LBGTWXYZ etc) at pain of being removed from his/her Ministry.
Please note that we are not talking about minors here (that has been legally verboten for decades) or disadvantaged or disabled staff (which is equally a no-no).
We are, apparently, most concerned about hierarchical ‘duty of care’, which quite reasonably worries that the boss might use job sanctions to pressurise the junior.
But between fully consenting – nay, enthusiastic – adults of sound mind with no positive or negative sanctions involved, it’s anachronistic, invasive bullying of the worst kind.
Presumably Australia is now aspiring to become the fourth Islamic Reich – “ve have vays of making you celibate!”
Or something. 😎
It seems to be true. She’s running (or perhaps sitting) in 2020. Pause for thought. Okay. Ron did it. Don did it. She can’t be less palatable than Billary, can she? As embarrassing as Trump? Or maybe by 2020 an AI robot will be a safer choice? Hmm.