The Plastic Hippo

May 7, 2017

Stockton-on-Tees syndrome

Patty Hearst

After being forcibly abducted, illegally deprived of liberty, brutalised and threatened with violence and death, it is beyond belief that a hostage would regard a hostage-taker with anything other than complete contempt and utter loathing.

However, since the 1970s, the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress and a six day armed siege at the Kreditbanken in Norrmalmstorg Square in the centre of the Swedish capital allowed psychologists to invent a brand new syndrome to describe how hostages bond with their captors as a strategy for survival and what happens when poor little girls begin to get their kicks by holding up banks with a machine gun. Sadly, like most monthly flavours in questionable psychology, this syndrome rapidly became tasteless when it was used to explain away domestic violence and child abuse in a world where blaming the victims for the crimes committed against them is somehow fashionable as well as being profoundly unfathomable.

It is far too simplistic to dismiss local authority and mayoral elections as meaningless or irrelevant or to point to woefully low turnouts. Crowing about victories in Manchester, Liverpool or the West Midlands when the turnouts are between 26 and 29 per cent is, however, not an indication of the imminent coronation of Theresa May. What is astonishing is that of the 21 per cent who voted in Tees Valley, the majority of people in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar formerly known for its steel works before being abandoned by a Conservative government voted for a Conservative metropolitan mayor. In the east end of Glasgow and across the industrial belt of the Scottish central lowlands, Conservative councillors were elected. (more…)

May 4, 2017

Breakfast, dinner and tea

Filed under: Politics,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 2:15 am
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Image via AP AFP

For all their blindingly obvious failings, it is still possible to feel some sympathy for arrogant career politicians forced out onto the streets and into radio and television studios to explain themselves to an unworthy and inferior electorate.

After a hard day out on the campaign stump shaking babies, kissing hands, making up facts and mangling the meaning of the words that were once contained within a fairly definitive English vocabulary, we should all find some compassion in our hearts for the occasional brain freeze, “mis-spoken” great big statistical whopper, alleged malicious misinterpretation, alleged deliberate distortion and alleged colossal lie taken out of context. Our leaders and potential leaders need to be forgiven for confusing a full English British Exit from the European Union with a continental British Exit from the European Union. With all the boiled eggs in one basket, it is difficult to define what is soft and what is hard. (more…)

April 26, 2017

Sixth Republic

Filed under: History,Politics,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 1:17 am
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Macron et Le Pen via Radio Times

At the end of the Second World War, the Fourth French Republic was established and governed with an unstable mix of Gaullist and Communist elected representatives until 1958 when the colonial civil war in Algeria, the debacle in Indochina and revolts in French West Africa brought about the collapse of government, the establishing of the Fifth Republic and the return of General De Gaulle as the President of France.

The Fourth Republic founded the European Steel and Coal Community, signed the Treaty of Paris in 1951 and then signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957 establishing the European Economic Community. A year later, regardless of bringing about astonishing economic growth, an increase in industrial output and massive improvements in social security, education, health and pension rights, the Fourth Republic fell in the face of an army munity and imminent military coup. (more…)

April 10, 2017

Jellyfish

Boris Johnson jelly

Ask any legitimate gathering of jellyfish, amoebas, plankton, protozoa and an accredited assortment of single-cell organisms making a living as newspaper editors and politicians and they will all agree that Bashar al-Assad, the 19th President of Syria, is basically a nasty piece of work.

His elder brother, Bassel al-Assad, managed to drive his Mercedes at high speed through fog into an unexpected obstacle and, according to the Syrian regime, died gloriously as “the martyr of the nation and the symbol for its youth”. If only he had survived he might be in a position to advise the youth of Syria not to drive too fast and always check your brake pipes. (more…)

February 27, 2017

Imagine

cliff
Imagine that after defying all the odds and confounding both critics and supporters alike, you wake up to find that you have guided Leicester City to unexpected and ultimate success as Champions of the Premier League. Alternatively, imagine looking in the mirror and discovering that you are a Thai billionaire duty-free shop magnate with an interest in football that only extends to the amount of personal wealth that can be made. Just nine months after an astonishing sporting achievement, the loyalty of fans toward Claudio Ranieri seems undiminished unlike the loyalty of a chairman more interested in television revenues than fans and certain mediocre players more interested in the transfer market than loyalty to the manager.

Imagine waking up as “Sir Mo”, the darling of the tabloid press only to go back to bed as plain Mohamed after your coach has come under suspicion of being up to no good. (more…)

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