The Plastic Hippo

July 28, 2017

Poached sushi

Raw sushi

When, on a cold and frosty morning, a car refuses to start when being late is simply not an option or the first intestinal rumblings indicate that the recently consumed piece of fish might have spent too long in the fridge, hope rapidly follows faith down the pan when it comes to being confident in having a mythical good day. No amount of de-icer or splashes of Wasabe can disguise the struggle in acquisition or the irredeemable loss when trust blows a gasket or crawls off the plate in search of greener pastures. The futility of bemoaning bad luck as being unfair can have no better example of wasting time than that of analysing the current government`s approach to governance, its notion of fairness and the Prime Minister`s definition of the words “strong and stable”. (more…)

July 16, 2017

Tears of a clown

Only a complete fool would dare to suggest that extracting the fifth largest economy on the planet from the largest single market on Earth would be a simple undertaking and such a daunting task would probably freeze the blood of even the most skilful of negotiators. To similarly imply that the still just about United Kingdom remaining within the European Union can be achieved without endless rancour, hostility and the potential for civil unrest is as credible as a sexed-up dodgy dossier as a justification for war. Given that the set of negotiations to remove the UK from the EU are perhaps the most significant and consequential of dialogues since the Second World War, Her Majesty`s government seem intent on making a complete and utter hash of the whole thing.

We need only to consider those entrusted with the process of negotiation. David Davis is to competence what Liam Fox is to honesty and Boris Johnson possesses all the tact and diplomacy of a hormonal Gloucestershire Old Spot boar. It is almost as if Her Majesty`s government, as usual saying one thing and meaning another, wants the negotiations to trail on out towards infinity and then fail and then start the process all over again. Buying time is as high on the agenda as buying parliamentary votes in the desperate hope of clinging to power. (more…)

July 10, 2017

Ich bein ein Hamburger

Filed under: History,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 2:47 am
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Not Colonel Sanders

Perhaps the most enduring and delightfully amusing myths generated by the cold war, is the continued belief that a President of the United States stood before a crowd in West Berlin and described himself as a jam-filled doughnut.

Few cold war orators could work a crowd like John F Kennedy even when the crowd spoke a different language and his assertion in 1963 that he, along with other free men would be proud to call themselves citizens of Berlin went down a storm with the German-speaking audience. Only non-German translators raised an eyebrow at the reference to deep-fried confectionary by completely missing the point that people in Berlin call jam-filled doughnuts Pfannkuchen and people in, for example, Hamburg call Pfannkuchen “Berliners”. Imagine JFK announcing to a New York crowd; “I am a weekly news and comment magazine celebrating the cultural richness of New York City”. (more…)

July 4, 2017

Public servants

Filed under: Law,Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 2:50 am
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Image via BBC

We in the still just about United Kingdom are fortunate enough to be served by a silent army of selfless public sector workers who tirelessly toil to maintain and improve our precious way of life. Often without witness, recognition or appreciation, their meagre financial reward is offset by the pride in fulfilling public duty for the general good. Avoiding vulgar and shameless self-publicity, we owe these saviours of society a debt of thanks that transcends mere pension schemes, employment rights and tasteless arguments over take-home pay. High court judges, senior police officers, NHS Trust executive managers and local authority cabinet members work unstintingly for a generally unappreciative populous and would never demean their public duty by discussing salaries, allowances and perks.

Consider Nicholas Paget-Brown, the former leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who displayed such selfless leadership in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster by adopting a stance of complete inaction and a policy of victim blaming. (more…)

June 28, 2017

Clad

Filed under: Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
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Following detailed analysis by a number of globally prominent experts, there is growing concern for the safety of a vulnerable Westminster resident who is refusing to evacuate a space that is in real and imminent danger of complete collapse. With her house falling down around her ears and her premises no longer viable or credible, this poor victim of shoddy workmanship and scandalous cutbacks during the construction and refurbishment process now finds herself almost homeless. Fortunately, the recent sub-letting of the crumbling town house to her new orange friend and the installation of a money incinerator under the Renewable Heat Initiative means that the plucky resident is immune from forced eviction as long as the recently discovered money tree continues to supply the recently installed money incinerator.

There are, however, further concerns regarding the materials used to board up the doors and windows of the property in an attempt to thwart the so-called experts and the health and safety storm troopers. It seems that samples of the decorative cladding have been tested and the preliminary results suggest that living in an environment enclosed by such heat insulation is about as safe as opening an email from a Russian cosmonaut en route to a rendezvous with a super nova.

More worrying still is the horrible realisation that similar boarding up cladding is being used to isolate other Westminster addresses including Number 11, the Scottish Office, the Welsh Office, the Northern Ireland Office, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Treasury and, more importantly perhaps, the newly created Office for Making a Total Mess of Getting Out of Europe. There are people within these buildings who, like the vulnerable Westminster resident who refuses to leave her subsidised home in spite of all evidence and advice, must be finding it difficult to sleep at night. (more…)

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