A flood, a torrent, a tidal wave
Returning from a recent trip abroad, I was shocked and stunned at the numbers of Bulgarian and Romanian economic migrants, health tourists, potential benefit scroungers and other foreign looking ne`er-do-wells thronging the arrivals terminal.
Given all the dire warnings of an influx of criminal gang masters, I was outraged to find not a single one of them coming over here and stealing our jobs. It would seem that they are coming tomorrow, or next week, or next month or possibly on the day before an election. That very smartly dressed young man being met by officials from a local Premier League football club doesn`t count because it was 12 hours prior to the close of the transfer window and it`s absolutely wonderful when they come over here scoring our goals. There is something charmingly comic when football fans scream racist abuse when an opposing overseas player clogs lumps out of one of their own overseas players or when the overseas manager fails to come up with the end of season silverware. (more…)
By any stretch of the imagination, it has been a difficult week for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Setting aside allegations of electoral fraud, the poisoning of his main political opponent and the imprisonment and torture of a woman Prime Minister, poor Viktor has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Imagine being a democratically elected leader and being forced to flee your native land with only a large Antonov transport aircraft stuffed with gold bullion for comfort. Fortunately he is now under the protection of Putin and continues to claim legitimacy even as Russian troops mass on the border with Ukraine. The people of Kiev and the western provinces might include right-wing fascists armed with Kalashnikovs but they can all spot a crook when they see one. (more…)
Image via Laurel Brown
After all the hype and all the manufactured enthusiasm, there will be some people who will look back at the XXII Olympic Winter Games with a slight sense of disappointment.
The British media, particularly the BBC, will remain in deep depression following the “failure” of the Men`s Curling Team to win gold and in so doing let the nation down by “only” collecting a silver in a rather obscure, minority sport. Only last week we were all expert hydrologists with an encyclopaedic knowledge of floodplain management and coastal defence. This week we are all allowed an opinion on the intricacies of Slope style and Skeleton and the massively popular brushing of the Curl. Next week the BBC`s expert commentary team will enjoy a well earned rest following the gushing and shouting “Oh” fest. It might be best not to dwell on the disappointment being felt by speed skater Elise Christie.
Vladimir Putin has probably got the hump as well. Having had his showcase roundly upstaged by events in Kiev and casting a nervous glance as the Ukrainian people get rid of a corrupt, authoritarian oligarch even in the face of rattling Russian sabres, the Putin games will be remembered for the footage of brave Russian Cossack security men attacking feminist protestors with whips. The “band” Pussy Riot could stage a spectacular PR and marketing coup by inviting Yulia Tymoshenko to join them on stage for a squawk during any forthcoming tour of Russian Orthodox cathedrals. Although not as comprehensive as the complete dismantling of Hitler`s warped bigotry by Jessie Owens in 1936, Putin`s faith in the manly Russian Ice Hockey team took a knock when they didn`t win a medal or even beat USA, a nation where states like Alabama, Utah and Texas have homophobic legislation even more draconian than the Russian Federation. If Vlad is disappointed, consider the hapless opening ceremony technician tasked with pressing the button to make the rings get bigger. I imagine that a gulag in northern Siberia is considerably colder that a Black Sea holiday resort at this time of year. (more…)
Via the plastic hippo
Sometimes, if time and money allow, it is extraordinarily therapeutic to burst out of the parochial bubble to catch some face time with the rest of the world and when opportunity presented a visit to a place on something called a bucket list, it was a case of bye-bye Walsall, see you later. The chance to walk on the same marble pavements that once experienced the sandals of Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, Saint Paul and Saint John proved too great a temptation so, without a second thought, bye-bye England.
When Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote “Oh it`s so nice to go travelling”, they clearly did not have to endure the ghastly shopping centre with a runway attached that calls itself Birmingham International Airport or have to change trains at a ghastly shopping centre with platforms known as the new “improved” New Street Station. A city the size of Birmingham and a region as important as the West Midlands really should have transport hubs that work. It was definitely not so much nicer to come home. (more…)
PM detained in military coup
To use a phrase that trips so readily and so lightly from the lips of an obfuscating politician; “let`s be perfectly clear about this”. David Cameron unequivocally, unquestionably and uncategorically did not say or mean to suggest or in any way infer either directly or indirectly in any tactical, strategic, operational scenario that the UK`s armed involvement in Afghanistan is a “mission accomplished”.
Similarly, the Prime Minister cannot possibly be considered as being in contempt of court by voicing his high regard for a witness in an ongoing criminal trial or by agreeing that he is on her “team”. Contempt is a very serious matter and only the most irresponsible of commentators would offer (more…)