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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, January 31, 2011

Seems the government isn't too concerned with it's popularity, while it pares down the massive debt this country is staggering under.. New tax laws indicate that theww quarters of a million British workers will shoulder a new burden with the new levee due to start on the 5th of April. The averale family, or for that matter singles, will pay £200 more p.a. to support this austerity move..
A bitter pill for those who voted LibDem.. One wonders what effect that will have come the next election, for certainly, it will get worse.
Just as a side note, those less fortunate, some 250 thousand, will payless tax..

Egypt continue to be a problem.
One indication has been the increase in the price of oil.. soon to be reflected in British homes as they grow colder, and British motorists who will soon be paying £4 per gallon.. And that figure will also rise..

One of the basic problems with globalisation, is the lack of attention to those countries outside the EU, and the West in general. We are living in a society that polarizing the rich and the poor. A sweet sixteen party for a wealthy girl can cost upwards of $100 thousand dollars, not including the £100 thousand spent on a Jaguar for the girls present from her parents..
How many children are raised with 'expectations'.. those who live at home off their parents income through those who have the world given to them on a platter by the 'haves'..
We live in a fantasy world these days, and when the bubble bursts, it will be catastrophic.
Now Egypt.
The recent events across the top of Africa have given rise to great concern in some circles.. We have still to see what's to happen in Syria..
The problem is Israel. Their peace treaty with Egypt had about a thirty year shelf life, and oddly enough, that time is up.. And if Hosni bows out after 30 years in power, the next government may not be so friendly. The Muslim Brotherhood's Party has significant popularity.

Add that to Palistinian displeasure with their government, since the leak of documents indicating the Palistinians were willing to discuss some Israeli expansion into Gaza..
Africa's a hotpot at the moment. It would be reasonable to think exports from much of that area are cut back. The cocoa situation in Ivory Coast has been mentioned earlier..

An era may soon come to an end. Nelson Mandala's not well. Mind you he's what..91?
It's been interesting to watch public opinion, and public attention on and about Mandala has evolved over the years. He was a political extremist, a terrorist, definately a murderer when he was sentenced to Roben Island. But perhaps the credit belongs to Winnie, who never stopped trying to effect his release. She raised public awareness of aparteid from alpha to omega..
But now the man is old and frail..
One wonders why Steve Biko didn't raise a vox populi..

Oddly, indications are that in the countryside, support for Hosni is strong. They're quite happy with the way he's dealt with their particular problems..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ben Ali in Tunisia, anw Hosni Mubrarak in Egypt.. What's next for North Africa..?
Not that much attention is paid to that part of the world, at least those who don't provide those photo's for African support.. Yet look at the price of cocoa these days because the military leader in charge has stopped all exports of the bean.. It's all part of a plan to diminish the rebels flow of cash.
No idea if it's working, but when that chocolate bar costs close to £ can at least, be understood..

That and of course, inflation. Last reported at a revised 5%..
And unemployment at 20%.. that figured reached by benefit records and does not include those who're relying on family, or going from friend, outside the system. There's a growing number of those who can't, or won't deal with the bureaucracy of getting government help..
We seem to have bred another 'Lost Generation'..
That's not even pessimism, but observation..

On a somewhat brighter note, Baracks State of the Union Address was perhaps the most uninspiring speeches heard of late. It seemed seems 'Yes We Can' has turned to 'Yes We Can, And To Do Less Would Be Unpatriotic'..

More later..

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A journalistic feast is underway already, as the pundits cue to have their opinions broadcast or read.. we wait for Tuesday, and Barack's State of the Union Address..
What we can be certain of, is 'the economy' will be central, and his government is going to tout bi-partisan cooperation in the House and Senate, the common ground being the recovery.. It's likely that he'll call on the workforce to improve the quality of their products and services, while perhaps suggesting educational programs to produce a trained second team to fill the gaps.. He'll be outlining his plan for a strengthening 'recovery'.. his plans for new growth in the Far East..
These topics are a given though.. to go farther would put us into speculation..

An interesting development.. Pope Benedict XVI has called on priests to be more diligent as they council a couple before marriage.. And that indeed, the Sacrament can be denied, should the indications of an unhappy union become evident during the mandatory counselling sessions..
Seems the Church is going to flex some muscle.. discomfit some of the faithful while perhaps attracting a young mind looking for a decisive direction..
Perhaps we'll see a return to the Vulgate Mass, making the whole experience for the majority totally mysterious again..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

While the government has released figures indicating another 49 thousand of us lost jobs in the quarter ending last November, putting the number of new claims for Council Benefits as a watermark.. That, says the government, means officially 2.5 million workers, aren't..
One might wonder though, if that calculation includes those barred from benefits for, say, quitting their last job.. or those who simply live on family these days, inured to a system which simply hasn't places for all, and waiting for a post to fall in their lap.. or those on disability for whatever medical condition gives them a pension..
It was suggested today by the old fellows in the pub that the true figure would show that fully a quarter of those who were once part of the workforce now are 'not working' for the government, paid fortnightly..
Some have made a career of it.. and so many.. too many.. are in their early twenties.

Keeping an eye on China?
Their growth figures are impressive, and despite a blip last Friday, their market appears strong.. And a figure of 10% is not bad, ever better than expected, in GDP.. And while there are already a dozen or so American retail chains already on the mainland.. the talks between Barack and Jintao will be pointed, and somewhat in China's favour..

It would appear that the government is re-thinking it's proposal to give the franchise back to prison inmates, should their sentence be 4 years or less..
It would be natural for us to be somewhat bemused by the suggestion.. for certainly when one is sentenced to prison, one loses the privileges afforded those who keep the law..
A dangerous precedent to give prisoners a voice in the government..

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interest rates are rising, as had to be expected.. The rate of inflation appears to have been underestimated by the Exchequer.. Mind you, while we're superficially better off than the EU.. it's going to hit those on Benefits and the 'working poor' the most almost to the point pensioners would be freezing, were it to get any colder..heating oil and gas have risen a staggering 49%.. while we pay the highest for retail goods in in Europe.. Students have been massing in protest of increases in tuition fees.. and while not quite Paris, the 'voice of the people' has turned against the government..
But we're civilised about it.. for the most part..
One has to wonder, that without any doctoring of the figures with abstractions and momentary variation.. what the true unemployment figures are..

'Baby doc''s been arrested in Port au Prince.. he has so many outstanding charges against him one could paper a room..
But he's old, and frail.. and has a return ticket to Paris..
If, by some remote chance the man rally's Haiti's people..and it's to be remembered he ruled 25 years ago, and memories can tend to be short.. then may the gods turn their eyes away from that island..
Malevolent creatures, these gods can be.. to imply that man could heal the country..
That's cruelty beyond reason..

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There are times the information we ingest on a daily basis, is overwhelming, especially if one's purpose is to leave a personal view of the world.. It has been some time since the last entry, and some greater time between that, and the one before.. but time has reestablished itself in the order of things, and much is to be commented on..
Barak's increasing unpopularity for one..Having spent more than a year in office, some of his austerity programs are pulling some purse-strings..
Mind you, with the Conservative/LibDem coalition announcing cuts to the budget of the NHS, and plans for further privitisation.. we here in Britain will have much to think on as our resident population ages, as we all do..
Something more topical and worth watching, is the unexpected appearance of 'Baby Doc Duvallier' in ravaged Haiti.. a country still reeling from the effects of bad government and natural disasters..
But it's been an unusual winter worldwide, thus far.. Snowfalls unprecedented have closed Europe, Britain, Scotland, for days this past holiday season.. Australia's flooding is catastrophic for those in and around Brisbane..
The cost of this weather cannot be counted precisely.. and it's left us all wondering what could next year be bringing us...
We are creatures of habit, and it's unnerving to see something as constant as our weather changing, even subtly.. The thought of having to adapt, is a great concern.. Coping with the cost adds to the weight of the situation..
It must be mentioned, that wherein 'chat rooms' were a source of popular opinion in the past, they have lost the thread somewhere in the vicarious joy of insulting strangers, and endless 'hello's' and 'goodbyes'..
Pity, that..
More to come.

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