The Plastic Hippo

May 19, 2017

Pen pals

Filed under: Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 4:01 am
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d

B.O.L.T.O.P.

In an age of brutally instant electronic communication, how pleasant and delightful it is to receive an actual letter through the post that is not a final demand, court summons or an invitation to the home owner or occupier to wave goodbye to varying amounts of money as part of a criminal scheme designed to separate the foolish from hard earned savings. It`s not every day that a real letter arrives and it is even rarer to find that the incoming missive has been signed by the actual Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

It is astonishing to think that a busy Prime Minister in the middle of an election campaign can find the time and make the effort to write to someone as unimportant and as insignificant as me. The Prime Minister has kissed the hand of the Queen, held hands with President Trump, shaken hands with a variety of dictators and has handed out all manner of lucrative favours to some very wealthy and therefore more important people than me, myself and I. With her own fair hand, she has signed a heartfelt epistle worthy of Saint Paul which has addressed me and only me.

In the days before correspondence became communication, it was considered polite to reply to letters…so here goes. (more…)

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 22, 2017

Banned Aid

Via b3ta.com

It is difficult to decide what is the more entertaining aspect of an uncoiling election campaign; the hilarious posturing of repulsive and thoroughly nasty politicians braying their saintliness or the increasingly ridiculous and totally unachievable promises being made.

Labour cannot possibly provide free school meals for all primary school children by charging VAT on private schools fees and are bare-faced liars to suggest that this unwarranted attack on rich people forced to choose between a third annual holiday and the ritual humiliation of their offspring is fully funded. They would need to remove the charitable status awarded to the schools like Eton which operates as a business rather than a charity nurturing privileged toffs born expecting power. (more…)

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