Next post (finagling and events permitting) : 1-9-2017
*News flash: Mystery hardware order
Earlier this year market analysts commented on a worldwide surge in shares of companies manufacturing physical ‘security’ equipment (such as ‘smart’ razor wire able to automatically launch preemptive strikes when approached, anywhere along its length, while summoning drones from headquarters). But new reports describe contracts for hundreds of thousands of high specification combination locks controlled at distance by passwords which can change daily, placed with American manufacturers by the EU Commission, allegedly to allow these to be fitted at all frontiers to frustrate any attempts by the UK to get back into the EU after March 2019. A high level official speaking on condition of the strictest anonymity said ”Ever since I took over from Barroso the UK has been a constant pain in the arse and we couldn’t be more glad to get rid of them. The only reason we’re pretending we want them to stay is to get them to pay us a lot of money in the ‘divorce’ settlement. Things are moving along so well at present that some more hot-headed young officials are urging us to set up similar scenarios with Poland and Hungary. I categorically deny any personal involvement; but who do you suppose has been provoking eastern Europe’s right-wingers?”
(Obiter collecta) Fegan’s Guide to Social Organisation (in 218 parts: pt. 104)
Other things equal, a new law or regulation will tend to benefit the class (the U class) to which those who draft laws and regulations belong, and to limit the freedom of all others. However, the disadvantage can often be reduced for a member of the non-U classes if he or she pays a tax or obtains a licence allowing them to retain some part of a freedom that would otherwise be lost. The cost of such licences and the level of such taxes are set by members of the U class (who of course control the administration of the resulting government revenue).
Op Ed from ‘Jonas’: In times well within living memory ‘industry’ meant industry (as opposed to agriculture, fishing or ‘trade’; other occupations apart from the armed services counted as ‘niche’ activities, such as stockbroking, being a doctor, or working ‘in the City’. Administration did not really count as an occupation at all; it was just something you did as part of your proper job. (Check out the startling changes in e.g. the running of (a) hospitals or (b) any randomly selected European Ministry of Defence, since 1945) (Governments really need to wake up to the fact that a very large proportion indeed of a nation’s activity and resources is now spent on administrators whose only task, full-time, is to administer the work of other administrators.) Nowadays of course most countries have ‘industries’ à gogo, including, a ‘leisure industry‘, ‘creative industries’ and a ‘tourist industry’ as well as a ‘hospitality industry’ and a ‘sex industry, with the latter three perhaps being the same thing but operating at different times of day. (By the way, I’m not inventing these terms; I’ve met every one of them more than once, and not, as far as I could tell, intended satirically either.) (Has anyone spotted a ‘heavy industry industry’ yet?) But since nowadays all of us except tramps, convicts and criminals not yet arrested are mere cogs in the great unthinking machine that is a modern business-oriented state mindlessly pursuing the ever retreating goal of screwing ever better figures for GDP out of the workforce, then let’s take the chance of making an annoying suggestion. In most countries there is still one huge feral predatory ‘industry’ roaming the economic landscape which could be brought under government control and should be, if only for the sake of all the money that could then be squeezed out of it. Any intelligent country should immediately nationalise the lobbying industry, and then regulate it AND TAX IT!
Market news Following the report that Ogglekook is to produce a new hypersmartphone that can transmit thoughts and images without users even needing to have the thoughts or see the images first, the company’s shares were last night reported to be making the fastest ever ascent without supplementary oxygen on the Wall of the New York Stock Exchange.
Five hundred or so are drowned each year in France, nearly all accidentally. Not a high number set against a population of 68 million (if you only count those officially on government records, and try not to notice those sleeping rough – estimated at 80,000 in Paris alone last winter – or living in derelict buildings to avoid the police charged with deporting desperate refugees back to ‘safe’ countries like Afghanistan and the squads just out for a bit of fun roughing up easy opponents; but 500 is a fairly high proportion of those exposed to recreational water. So ‘authorities’ want to promote courses to teach all children how to swim. Just think rationally now. In fact most of those 500 might still be alive if they’d had a reasonable fear of the sea and open water in general instilled in them from childhood upwards. O.k. you can call it ‘respect for the sea and open water’ if you like, but the point still carries significant weight. Notice, if you haven’t, that the human is an animal with two legs for walking, running and kicking aggressors in the obvious target, not a creature with a sleek tail and assorted fins for convenient travel under water. If without a programme of mass encouragement you’re getting 500 drowned in a year, it is virtually certain that teaching all children how to swim is going to increase the number of victims. And would you want to apply this strategy elsewhere? It seems quite possible that as things are some other recreational activities have even higher proportions of practitioners harmed, injured or killed. Should the government introduce nationwide instruction for children in rock-climbing? Moto-cross? Parcours/Parkur? Or alcohol consumption?
Linguistic corner (From our archives) Whatever it says in the dictionary ‘ideology’ in practice consists of acquiring an idea which at first may have a certain meretricious charm, committing oneself to it, and then running away with it, with never a backward glance, leaping carefree over all barriers raised by common sense, and taking it with you into new and strange territory where the idea is no longer a desirable ‘compagnonne de route’, no longer even attractive, but an embarrassing liability, violently – perhaps even dangerously – at odds with the landscape where you now find yourself. Examples for UK readers: voting Conservative, listening to One Direction, supporting the English soccer team, leaving the EU.
**News flash : Grenfell Tower fire, 14-06-2017. British government announcement that there is to be a review of building regulations, 29-07-2017 [On account of its high public profile this newsflash has been brought to you by enhanced express delivery which can even override obligations to attend week-end tennis matches, agreeable dinner parties, and cruises on the river]
It is long since we’ve heard from Berthold Featherstonehaugh-Cheems, once a regular contributor to our reports, earlier a reliable member of the manipulators of tax avoidance for right-thinking citizens of southeastern England.) I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that underneath the damp blanket stretched over his personality by a British upbringing there lurked, if not a crouching tiger, at least a performing flea, which under the tough editorial régime imposed on him here led to him developing intellectual muscles in unpredicted places. He started to go off the rails (as his old companions would see it) and changed his job to take a post – heaven knows why – in one of the all too many universities of London (full of students, administrators, general riff-raff). He became a keen cyclist, grew a beard which made him look like Corbyn, and has been seen taking part in street demonstrations with some ‘unusual’ associates, among others a group of feminist survivalists based in the Cotswolds who believe men only grow a penis because they have been culturally conditioned to do so. This letter tells us on a recent visit to the Senate House he accidentally attended the wrong ‘briefing session’ addressed by a government minister and heard quite a lot before being hustled out during the final questions and answers. It appears there is a complex government plan with inspiration drawn in part from the activities of Airbnb to radically change employment conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. Each day millions of workers join the harassed streams flowing as slowly as molten lava into city centres. Yet at the same time great numbers are moving in the opposite direction. As the economy has developed, more and more of national productivity takes place outside cities. Outside the main conurbations there are many thousands of warehouses, factories, airports, storage depots, and ‘retail complexes’. The government intends to require that – except in the case of those operating nightshifts – companies and individuals owning these enterprises must redesign the facilities (often extensive) so as to use the existing buildings, perhaps with some additions, to provide accommodation for the workforce employed within them (including the families). In return the owners will be allowed to charge rentals for the accommodation. The benefits will be enormous for all concerned, provided there are explicit legal contracts linking accommodation and employment. Owners will be assured of a stable workforce, with minimal absenteeism and 100% punctuality. In addition they could be allowed the option of setting up basic retail outlets to cater to the needs of the resident workers, and perhaps basic medical facilities (which could also quickly check on cases of malingering). The workforce will be spared the stress and expense of daily transport and perhaps even of the need to purchase a vehicle, and might well enjoy lower housing costs than in city centres. Basic shopping would be available a few steps from their new homes. The wider region would benefit from the reduction in pollution, and stress on the transport system. The nation would save on fuel costs, and a significant reduction in social benefit expenditure, as well as a partial solution to the housing crisis.
It was only revealed that Berthold should not have been present when he asked the minister if he did not feel that this was a reintroduction of slavery, or at least serfdom. (The minister laughed and remarked he had never heard of a slave receiving a monthly pay packet with government taxes ready calculated and deducted, but it was at this point that the security guards were called in.)
The Editor writes: Personal note: I came back from my tour and found the place looking like a French Square after a Britain vs Russia football match. Hadn’t even cleared up ….but I won’t waste description on details of the hooliganism, except to denounce the theft of the whole dozen of Château du Tertre and the last couple of Corton Charlemagne. One interesting aspect, though, which my friends in the law and order branch are investigating further is a Philippine passport, probably fake, with the villain’s photo but a quite different name, found along with a pair of used underpants in the cupboard underneath the tv monitor. I’m not going to mess about nursing my wrath to keep it warm. It will be quite hot enough if that scoundrel ever sets foot on this island again, though it’s unlikely he’ll risk it. If he does my friends have promised me he’ll be slung not gentlyinto the slammer on the most embarrassing charges that occur to them. I admit a severe loss of trust in my ability to assess character by simply meeting a face and talking to it. (Am still pretty confident I’m right about Macron, though, and I note that he’s already had the biggest drop in approval ratings of any incoming president since the Chirac débacle!) Needed soonest: new intern!