Cui bono?

honor hominesque honesti floreant

Month: April, 2016

Er – Human Nature?

Late news

A clerical error has resulted in twenty Syrian refugees who had hoped for asylum in Denmark actually landing in Australia.  As its contribution to dealing with the migration crisis, rather than receiving any refugees Britain offered instead in 2015 to maintain the European Office for Registration of Unqualified Migrants, building on its decade-long experience in excluding would-be asylum seekers or returning them to the third-world countries from which they had escaped.  Work in the Office  actually started only last Thursday, owing to difficulties earlier in completing the private finance initiative scheme set-up to equip the headquarters chosen (De Labremont Court Mansion in Sussex) with the facilities needed to house staff and to ensure efficient and secure long-distance communication.  Among the first group to be handled were twenty refugees who had succeeded late last year in passing through Germany but were refused permission to cross into Denmark, and were therefore to be returned, initially to Austria.  But the telex giving the necessary instructions was misread, and as a result these migrants were put on a flight from Frankfurt to Sydney.  The Australian High Court has ruled that since they had neither intended nor wished to travel to Australia, and were under the control of a lawfully recognised international agency they cannot be expelled (although they can receive treatment such as would make it likely that they ask to leave the country).


Linguistic corner   ‘Patriotism’ is an uplifting or intoxicating feel of hatred or contempt rendered justifiable (according to the patriot) by the fact that it is not directed at one’s own people.   Fegan’s Criminal Dictionary


A guest writes.  (The contributor, a former broadcaster, wishes to remain anonymous)

Somewhere in the dark and furtive beginnings of regular television broadcasting in Britain sixty and more years ago a chubby, curly-haired youth bounced into a Programmes Provisional Advisory committee meeting (his well-connected step-mother having fixed up the opportunity for him) in Broadcasting House.  (The meeting was unusual since in those days what primarily took place in Broadcasting House was broadcasting, whereas now of course the rooms and corridors are filled with the unceasing hum of innumerable intricate internecine managerial intrigues).  If we could translate his twentieth century words into New British they would be “Television is a visual medium.  Viewers want to see our programs.  They want to see things happening.  They want movement, they want life.  They don’t want a news reader droning on at them with the news, centre-screen and stony-faced like a Chinese idol.  They don’t want to see two heads simply using words to pass thoughts to and fro.  They want action.”   And so on, in the way now only too familiar to those watching a newcomer on the make.

            Not very perceptive, the somnolent middle-aged group round the table mistook his self-promotion (which actually reproduced a presentation by a fellow-student he had witnessed on the media studies course at Wyclaw State U) and took it to be originality.  To a man, they had a firm instinctive distrust of originality, and so to get rid of him as fast as possible they passed a unanimous motion asking him to draft a plan for presentation training, for all those who had to appear in front of camera.  He did not draft such a plan, but his girlfriend did.  And that is why to this day BBC news reporters wave their arms like mediaeval conjurors, or advance stealthily towards the camera as if hoping to spring on it and kill it, or wander in a wide meaningless circle across the landscape while delivering their report.  The words do not matter; the essence is in the movement.  Presentation is the thing, content a mere sideshow.  (Thatcher would have approved.)  It has always been harder to do this sort of thing with studio interviews and news presenters.  Of course they can, and are, frequently interrupted with clips (showing wherever possible attractive young women, or if not available then ‘celebrities’), and many studios have been set up with a slowly revolving panorama behind the speakers.  But change there too is at last under way as older customs and older controllers lose their grip.  Unexplained people will make brief irruptions into the studio.  Interviewers will mix gin and tonic for their interviewees on set.  The panoramas will come to life, first in realistic and then in more exciting fashion.  For instance, birds will flit across the scene behind the presenters in a most plausible and motionful way.  Jackdaws will be spliced in frequently since they like to do aerobatics and pirouette where crows would simply fly from one side of the screen to the other with no more éclat than an MP delivering official policy.  Viewers of the older generation will have to surrender.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  If presentation is going to take over they’ll just have to give up expecting thought and meanings and news and reportage, and if they must get real information they must hunt for it on the net (and a hard game that will be!)  But the television screen will be the scene of constant unpredictable activity.  Explosions – real or faked – in the panorama, sunrise at interestingly different times of day.  Let’s have the special effects guys really earning their money – how about a flock of pterodactyls flapping over Waterloo Station?  Cameras will zoom in without warning on bank raids, again real or faked.  (Does it matter?  The viewers will watch in their millions).  Scenes of personal violence, real or faked here too, some from outside the studio, some in.  Let’s have a vulture perching on the newsreader’s shoulder.  A monkey shown trying to operate one of the cameras.  And more, and more, ever less coherent, less interesting, less humane.  Society and history move on, and those who cannot keep up must sit unprotesting on their park bench and watch as the others pass on out of view.


Science news   It is reported that the expansion of the human biomass is still proceeding in line with the gradual rise in world equity prices on the stock markets, and with experts still arguing as to why there has seemed to be the surprisingly close correlation between them over the past 150 years which, broadly, continues to hold good despite the droughts now affecting a number of places around the globe, and the imminent economic crashes in the formerly acclaimed BRIC nations (which by the way, just go to show how reliable economic pundits are).  World-wide the percentage of men who are obese stands at a new record, hailed by food-manufacturers and private fee-charging hospitals alike, with a figure of 13% of the adult male population.  An odd statistical feature, however, is that six of the seven leading nations in this exciting contest are English-speaking, and here the number of adult males reaching the obesity level hits 20% a proportion more than 50% higher than the world average.  Scientists in many countries are urging the establishment of research programmes to discover whether speaking English has a beneficial effect on weight gain, or whether a high body-mass index produces a tendency to speak English.


Karela asks:

Instead of ladling money into artificial intelligence, how about putting some into human intelligence, or better human civilisation?


Forthcoming news

A number of worried citizens and delighted right-wing politicians have been commenting in recent months on the wide horizons opened up for racial discrimination by recent advances in DNA research.  It appears that the chance of two different human being found to share precisely the same pattern of DNA is certainly lower than one in a hundred million.  This makes it possible for even a brother and sister to despise each other, by each choosing different elements of the genome as the crucial aspects of their genetic make-up which should count as the desirable norm.


A reader’s letter

Thank you for that sarky bit you had in your last post spoofing the hypocritic tosh this Tory government insults us with.  That’s assuming it wasn’t really one of their announcements?  By the way if that Maud you’ve got as an intern is the Maud Timoshenko came second in the shot put at the Dublin Student Games, you’ve really done yourselves a good turn there.  Good brain, nice strong girl.  What about a signed photograph?

Jim Golightly-Porter

Thank you for the plaudit for our intern, and also your kind offer of a photograph, but we receive plenty of photographs as it is, mostly selfies sent in by readers who somehow imagine that their face, or more often full body shot, may persuade us to reveal our private e-mail addresses to anyone who writes in.  Few are signed, and anyway they are normally binned on receipt, but we do have one (18 inches by 30) which was needed until yesterday to block a hole in a front window that arose when we had the Fine Gael hockey team here last year.  As it happens it is signed by a prominent member of the Tory cabinet and we shall be glad to send it to you in Grimsby.


 Saying of the week    When you go to see a play in a theatre you are traditionally supposed to offer a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’.  However, when you go to the Cinesumma Superplusplex to see the latest Hollywood movie what you need is a willing suspension of dislike.


Thought for the day   The pantomime horse is loved by all but it does not win the Derby


Note on democracy   In the election which put the present British government in office, those registering a vote were 66.1% of those eligible to do so.  Out of this number the Conservative party received only 36.9%.  Time for some reflexion on the decent conduct of political affairs.


Quid est demonstrandum?

The Editor writes:

Question put to a commentator by a news presenter (from Al Jazeera) on the occasion of the  recent conference in Istanbul, that devoted a large part of its attention to the state, and the states, of the Middle East.  (This journalist is plainly among the sharper minds of a profession that anyway has fewer numbskulls than eg the average modern university and I was dismayed to hear the question:) ‘How do you push through reforms when so high a proportion of those at the conference are dictators?’

            Well Jane, a pretty relevant first response is ‘What are the reforms most needed in the countries you are thinking of?’  To this my own answers would be, in no particular order,  a clean water supply; freedom from aerial and artillery bombing; enough food to keep life going;  a justice system where cases depend on the law not the personal views of the judges or their bosses;  laws with some resemblance to common humanity;  good health care;  adequate support for people who one way or another cannot manage what is needed on their own (eg most unmarried mothers, the blind);  freedom from oppression by bureaucracy;  equal treatment for all the population including minorities;  education without fees;  an honest police force;  freedom of non-violent expression;  decent prison conditions for those who do get checked in there;  and (why not?) serious action against pollution.

            (NB Quite apart from the countries Jane was thinking of; there is hardly a country in the world  that does not need to up its performance sharply in at least several – and yes, I do mean ‘several’ – of these aspects, and just in case I am not being fully clear this statement of mine is intended to cover a good few of the preening western nations that enjoy passing judgement).

            I didn’t include well-run elections, nor a return to democracy .  That is because my second-order response to Jane’s question is that it is dictators above all who are best placed to actually put such reforms in place.  Whether they have the will to do so is obviously another matter, but what better encouragement in this direction could they find beyond the prospect of preserving their hold on power by doing so?  Empirical evidence is thin on the ground but strongly supportive where it exists.  At this point we run up against the next  question, namely whether your run-of-the-mill autocrat has the political nous to realise this is his very best bet.  So rather than seeing the UN waste so much of its resources on politically correct schemes to enable political groups to get back to the squabbling, violence, corruption and inequity which are part of all normal democratic systems, let’s see it using bribery, blackmail, legal chicanery, market manipulation, threats and any other means that seem cost-effective to establish realistic, but obviously secretive, training schemes – which might very suitably be called ‘Tito courses’ – aimed at getting even the dimmest dictator to understand how his (or her, in the rarest of cases) own interests (and incidentally those of the population at large) – can be best served by instituting reforms.

            While we can’t expect many dictators to openly acknowledge their attendance at such courses, let alone to be photographed waving certificates and tossing mortar boards in the air to celebrate attainment of the necessary standard, it could and should be possible for quiet well-furnished rooms to be provided in New York, Geneva and other branch offices of the UN for current students to meet tutors from time to time and perhaps exchange views with one another on tactics, acceptable and unacceptable personality cults, and helpful tax havens.   Among many other agreeable appurtenances these rooms would have honours boards, not to be visible to the general public of course, bearing the names of successful graduates world-wide, the number of years they were able to stay in power after first signing up for the course, number of major internationally recognised prizes (Nobel Peace, Ibrahim etc) and also in the case of the minority who choose to leave office the name of the western universities of which they subsequently became the honoured presidents.


Monty Skew writes:

Brexit brings along another chance to test again what seems to many of us the most efficient strategy for deciding which side is, if not actually right – which is after all rare – at least somewhat closer to making sense in the sorts of public discussion that get labelled by news media as ‘the (latest) great debate’.   In this case we have to deal with the ‘Go-ers’ and the ‘Stay-ers’ or if that sounds a bit too much like a piece of racing jargon, we could call them the ‘Out-siders’ and the ‘In-siders’ (and the connotations of those terms might in fact be rather appropriate).  The strategy comes in two stages and if you’re lucky the first may be enough.  For this you must  listen carefully to the opposing arguments on each side.  After a reasonable lapse of time pondering the implications and prerequisites, perhaps some thirty seconds or so, you may well find your intuition has gradually led you to feel the arguments on one side are such that no sane person could be advancing them.  (This naturally leads some commentators to commend the other side.)  If however this first procedure leaves both cases equally balanced, or as it may be unbalanced, then you need to take the more laborious step of considering the people putting up the arguments on each side, and many will agree, whatever their personal interests, that with Brexit we have a very clear answer, given that wealthy companies, both multinational and native, are not only as a sector strongly committed to the Insiders but also form an overwhelmingly large component of their campaign.  When you take those two points together with the self-evident truth that these companies are in business to make money for themselves, not to do good for the British community at large, one is put in mind of a group of wolves coming across Little Red Riding Hood as she sets off on her journey and helpfully telling her there is another way to her grandmother’s cottage, an altogether easier and prettier way, through the Winding Wood, and they’ll gladly go with her as they happen to be going that way themselves.


The government has asked us, in common with all media channels, to report this official summary of British government policy with respect to potential immigration by those lacking proper qualifications:

  ‘Britain has a long and honourable record of aid to populations in distress throughout the world, and at the present time the government is fully prepared to do whatever is necessary to ease the lot of those, no matter what their national and ethnic backgrounds, who may be suffering from the effects of war in their country.  At the same time it is important to realise that the resources of this nation are not unlimited, and it is not reasonable to expect its people to view with equanimity an influx of migrants with no meaningful ties to the country taking advantage of its generosity and threatening to degrade the agreeable middle-class lifestyle which has been achieved with so much effort and hard work over the years, and which must continue to be safeguarded by the policies of the present government.


ps to my faithful friends from way back – Hi!   Look, you really should call round some time.  (Positively no unpleasing reception planned.)  First, I think you would be pleasantly surprised, and second as I think I said before I could do with some intelligent conversation.

If plan A doesn’t work try politics, or vice versa

I think we did ourselves a good turn when we agreed to accept Maud as an intern.  She has an unusual capacity to look at situations as they really are (see item 2) rather than simply categorising them and then clicking on the ‘everybody knows’ button so as to slot in the conventional view, thus saving time and losing touch with reality as is now normal in this hi-speed, tech-savvy dawn where we are ‘all’ multi-connected to the latest lies and misrepresentations circulating in the media.  If Maud keeps going as she has begun we might offer her another month, and perhaps even think about giving her a salary.  Meanwhile Karela, still pursuing her hunt through the historic archives of the journal and its sister publications, has been turning up quite a bundle of interesting stuff including item number (3) which looks as though it may be coming from a government near you any day now.  The historical perspective comes into (4) as well, sent in by, presumably, one of our oldest readers.  Monty and Simon in ill-matched co-ordination also make entirely characteristic contributions.

            As for the first piece, I really don’t know what has got into Berthold.  I fear he may bring us another visit from the men in khaki and green, though he looks and sounds so impeccably boring he’s a valuable front man if they do appear again.  He writes:

            As Obama’s term of office trickles uselessly away, this may be the right time to remind our audience that it was the British newspaper the Gruadian that played a crucial part in enabling him to chop logic and look good on  photo ops for those eight years (not to mention sending out drones to kill Asian opponents and their civilian neighbours in defiance of the Geneva Convention, and thus recruit massively to the ranks of America’s enemies).  The 2008 campaign saw Obama win 53% of the vote and McCain 46%.  It is widely considered that two major factors were involved in Obama’s success: McCain’s eccentric rejection of Condoleeza Rice as Vice-presidential candidate, and the vigorously pronounced unpopularity of George Bush the incumbent President.  Had either of those factors been removed then the election might well have turned out the other way.  What is interesting, therefore, is that the Guardain had a high claim to have won Bush his ‘knife-edge’ re-election in the campaign of 2004 (though some would prefer to describe that as his first and only election, given the shenanigans that went on in 2000).   That journal spotted that under the peculiar Electoral College system for electing the President, Ohio was likely to be a ‘swing’ state.  Further, within Ohio one particular electoral district was likely to be a ‘swing’ district tipping the result for the whole state one way or the other.  The paper organised a campaign for its readers to write letters to citizens of that district urging them to vote not for Bush but for his opponent Kerry.  The letter-writing campaign from Britain had exactly the result that any half-competent sixth-form student of politics could have predicted (and at the time many perhaps did).  American voters enraged at British interference in their election ran a counter-campaign, and the electoral district duly tipped to Bush, which ensured that all of Ohio’s votes went to Bush and that did in fact win him the election.  (So much for that attempt to manipulate the social media.)

(2) Maud writes

I have noticed a mistake which turns up so frequently in political speeches I wonder if it is somehow physically contagious.  It is the very simple matter of getting things ‘the wrong way round’, which you might have hoped ceased to baffle children somewhere about the age of graduating from kindergarten.  A prize specimen which has been annoying us ever since the date of the Brexit vote was announced is the assertion that the existence of the EU (not to mention its gelatinous spread) is what has kept peace, of a sort, in Europe for the past 70 years.   But in fact it is the peace (from economic exhaustion, and memory of the horrors of war) which has allowed European states to become immovably attached (in very much the same way that pieces of iron scrap lying together in the open air will rust into a single rigid block) and in that way to continue to exist as a composite but now indivisible (and insufferable) unit .

(3) Karela writes.  It is not a surprise that so many talk now about security.  A very confusing subject.  For example, security for who, ordinary people or presidents and governments?  Security against what?  Against only terrorism, or against famine, and transport accidents, and against illnesses that can be cured if enough effort and money is made? But what is right and what is needed will not be important.  There will be more and more rules even if needed or not needed.  And when I was looking in old papers I found these words, with a date 4th November 1993, though I think it did not publish until 2004.  This I think is right and maybe it will now come even quite sooner than that writer, certainly Irish, thought:

  It looks to me as if two lines of what is called, gullibly or cynically, progress are converging to give a thought-provoking result.  The first is the widespread desire of governments to ‘wire-up’ their populations to every available means of communication (whether the citizens want it or not, whether it is reliable or not, and whether the governments understand it or not); this line receives a strong impetus also from governments’ rapidly increasing desire to know where all their subjects are all the time – in fact the two strands to this first line should very possibly be ranked in the other order.  The second line is technological advance in making devices which do the same sort of thing as something which already exists, but which are much smaller, and this too is strengthened by a parallel trend, which is the discovery of more and more ways in which the rejection capabilities of human physiology can be overcome or bypassed.  The outcome at some near future point would, or will, be the compulsory implantation of nanotelephones and miniature locating devices in everybody’s head, arm, or buttocks.


(4) A reader (‘Exul’) writes from Oshawa  

I observe increasing resort among Europe’s politicians to the cynical device of making promises for a date at which the politician concerned can be damned sure not to have to make good on the promise.  One blatant recent example was Cameron’s warm-hearted offer for Britain to assist the suffering Syrian refugees by taking in some 20,000 of them (out of the three million or so who have succeeded in escaping from that horror – formerly very like a pleasant part of Europe somehow in the wrong place, except for the fearsome police) – but only by the year 2020.  Similarly with the roseate figments of Osborne’s financial imagination for the time when his party will certainly have lost office.  But this is not a trick the Tories thought up just last autumn.  They have been at it since at least 1954, when then Chancellor Butler asserted that the British standard of living would double within the next 25 years.  Or so it is recorded in some books.  What I can remember, however, is that he added ‘provided that the country keeps the Conservative party in power’.

(5) Louise brought Simon into the office two days ago.  (Her personal presence apparently made the Loyal Lifelogging Loop unnecessary.) She explained that she would never bother to read our ‘charabia’ herself, but that her recently acquired son has told her he is not being exhibited in these columns as readily as he thinks appropriate.  In response to her strongly expressed request (and not overlooking the  bottle of Ch.Pétrus) we accepted the following posting by Simon about a net-surfing session he recently enjoyed.  (This posting subedited by Monty).

Scientists in convincing white coats believe that eating artichokes can be bad for your health –  if you are a smoker.  A survey has discovered that artichoke eaters are 20%  more likely to rate their chances of giving up smoking as ‘not good’ or ‘poor’.

Attacking backwards

 For the past two weeks we have had a new intern.  (Readers will be glad to hear that Sephelia is no longer in prison, but has not yet been able to reclaim her British passport and is still unable to leave Uganda.  However we learned that a former editor of this journal (officially still on unpaid leave of absence suffering from acute stress) is now in residence and acting as deputy manager at Madam Filoufa’s Hot Lotus Bar Resort, apparently a country club for members of the legal profession, and we have been able to transmit a small amount weekly to pay for Sephelia’s food and lodging.) 

            Our new intern Maud Timoshenko, a graduate of Dublin University, has been with us for two weeks, and is believed to be one of the last graduates anywhere not closely related to someone already established in the media who is nevertheless still  hoping to succeed in becoming a journalist before the last of the old-style news outlets either declares bankruptcy or is converted into an ‘easy-reading’ ‘popular’ magazine.  We took her on after an interview showed her to be unusually literate for her generation and, much more important, not dementedly computerate, and now that she has mastered the basics of our outfit (except for keeping the supplies of slivovitz and ouzo well topped up, but so much the better for Karela and Manos in my opinion) we are letting her have a posting of her own (to which according to tradition she is fully entitled to add any scraps she finds and chooses from among the multitudinous piles of paper around the office.)


We learn that US forces in Europe are to be reinforced to ‘deal with Russian aggression’.  I find this puzzling.  Perhaps I should explain my own family background.  Although our family name is of course Ukrainian, we are even in my generation a Russian-speaking family and have no doubt that we consider ourselves Russian, whatever our passports.  The family home was originally not far from Kharkov, but as World War II came to its close my grandmother and grandfather were able to move to France, and then in the next generation my parents moved to Ireland ‘to be as far away as possible from Stalin even when he’s dead’.  My father had advanced ideas on education and I was home-schooled which was easy then although it has become more difficult since.  My home-schooling included the ethnological, geological, and political history and geography of Europe.  I learned then that just before the Berlin wall fell the Russian government working out of Moscow controlled not only the Russian Federation, but also Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany.  For the sake of friendly progress benefitting both the former adversaries, when the wall fell, James Baker, the American Secretary of State, promised that Nato would not advance into the territory previously controlled by Moscow, by ‘one inch’.  However, at present, in one way or another all those countries are under the influence of Nato and in most at least there are western military forces.  Russia has not even mounted a defensive war to stop this.  As for the Crimea, it had long been a part of the Russian Federation, well into my grandmother’s lifetime, and my own family knows that the people in the east of the Ukraine were mostly (not all, but mostly) Russian (which may help to explain why Kiew thought the best way to keep them as ‘its own’ citizens was to use heavy weapons against them.)  So I have two questions.  What does ‘aggression’ mean – ‘peaceful retreat’ ?  And why are the news media at present making such a big story about energetic moves to end it?

Conundrum of the week : What  is the minimum period of residence required in the following localities before a family or individual believes they can claim the right to describe later arrivals as economic migrants?     

a) Dresden b) Australia c) Wales   d) Portsmouth (UK)

Health news  The obesity horizon event is now occurring earlier in Europe than at any time in the past fifty years.  This is the scientific term for the last day when light from his feet no longer reaches the eyes of a man standing erect  For the average man in most European countries it occurred at least three years earlier in 2015 than in 2008

 Linguistic corner   Most of us know the term isotherm for lines on a map which join points with the same temperature.  In much the same way isomore is the term for lines which join points of equal stupidity.  The map in this case can be, but is not necessarily, geographical.  Thus the isomore BF48% for northern Europe (delineated in accord with data constantly updated by the EU Directorate for the Mental Environment using a formula devised by highly trained economists) at present passes through about 260 points including the Ministries of Health and of Education in London, an exhibition of modern installationist art in Dublin, a small yacht currently signalling for help in the Atlantic just south of Rockall, a certain fishmonger’s premisses at the foot of High Street on this very island where we work so hard to improve the lot of the human race, and through (for the 189th week in an unbroken sequence) the decision to bomb Libya and then assume that it would sort itself out satisfactorily provided it received messages of verbal support from the British government.

Extracts from readers’ observations (no.264)

… in fact businessmen like this fellow claiming credit for economic growth strikes me as rather like pests claiming the credit for the development of the pesticide industry and the jobs of its associated workforce.   Clarence MacNaught  (Obergurgl, VT)

if you liked this footnote you may also like the following

Peeps into the Pageant of our Political Past (no.83)

Social Credit:   Starting during World War I, Major C.H.Douglas collected a large amount of data from British businesses and discovered that contrary to previous dogma the total money generated by a company and becoming available in a community (through salaries, wages, and dividends) is almost invariably less than the costs to the community of the company’s production of those goods and services.  He devised a scheme aimed at improving the economic (and political) position of the individual citizen, and released the idea into the wild in 1924 in a book called Social Credit without any great hope of fame or recognition even, let alone wealth, but nonetheless with confidence that its own excellence and clarity would let it exert some beneficial influence on humanity.  It almost took off in Canada, in the province of Alberta, but reactionaries and authorities world-wide became aware of the threat in time, and combined to hunt down the principles and reduce them to a pitiable wreck of what might have been.  Some believe that the international convention, widely followed in other anglophone nations, to speak of Canada with a mixture of sympathy and benevolent amusement was actually organised at this time.

Surprise of the week.  Former prime minister Blair,(still at liberty, and who recently set records for unpopularity as a Middle East peace envoy) has suggested that the war in Syria can only be brought to an end by having western boots on the ground in the areas where conflict still continues.  Many of all political persuasions from Gallowegian to the authoritarian wing of the Tory Party have voiced strong approval of this proposal on condition that two of the boots belong to Mr Blair


[The answer to ‘Conundrum’ is that it depends on the relative economic condition of the residents and the arrivals, the economic condition of the locality, and the colour of the skin of each group, and not at all on the length of the period of residence.]