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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Athens got off lightly

Barak Obama declares he ‘wants a strong Britain in a strong Europe.’ That’s telling us. Like many phrases it has a glib resonance that doesn’t make sense when generally applied. The Irish lobby being what it is in America, would any of his predecessors have similarly declared that they wanted 'a strong Ireland in a strong UK’? How far might this tidying up of loose and untidy islands go? Will we ever hear: A strong Cuba in a strong US’….A strong Taiwan in a strong China’ or perhaps ‘A strong Japan in a strong China’?

Another quite important American phrase is: ‘no taxation without representation’ with, presumably the caveat that this doesn’t apply to other countries if it suits American interests as defined by the State Department.

The question is whether it really suits our interests, and here it becomes as baffling as Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist. Two Jacobean con-men, Captain Face and Subtle along with the prostitute Dol Common conspire to rip off Sir Epicure Mammon and a lawyer’s clerk named Dapper. Sir Epicure Mammon is fooled into thinking Subtle and Face possess the secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone which can turn base metal into gold. Dapper is fooled into thinking he is favoured by the fairies and if he should but:
Three drops of vinegar, in at your nose:
Two at your mouth; and one, at either ear;
Then, bathe your fingers’ ends; and wash your eyes;
To sharpen your five senses; and cry hum,
Thrice; and the buz, as often….
The fairy Queen will make him lucky at cards.

I suspect Captain Face and Subtle would have had an easy time with contemporary politicians.

Since 1979 Britain has paid in £228 billion to Brussels, amounting at present, £50million a day. This is to an organisation unable to audit what it spends, to an organisation that no one in Britain gets to elect. 

Those business men who do well from Europe remind us that 50% of our trade is with the EU and that catastrophe would ensue should we leave. The democratic deficit doesn't figure on their books. Others argue that our total trade surplus with the rest of the world in 2011 was a positive £17.6 billion as opposed to a total deficit of £46.6 billion with the EU. 

Around 1800 BC the city of Athens paid an annual tribute to Crete in the form of seven men and seven girls. These were ‘fed’ to the Minotaur.  In my mind Athens got of lightly - at least it did then.


Maria Zannini said...

It irritates me to no end when people NOT native to that country mouth off on how that country should be run.

And don't get me started on governments that pay subsidies.

Let's bring back the Minotaur and feed it politicians.

Mike Keyton said...

We'd need more than one Minotaur, Maria : )

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Willie from "Henry VI Part II:" Let's kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight.

And the only thing I find more irritating than Obama's endless speechifying using nothing more than platitudes and calculated lies, is the way he whistles his esses.

Mike Keyton said...

Having raised an eyebrow at Barak telling us what he wants Britain to do, it would be bad form on my part to step into American politics. But whilst we're on the subject of pronunciation, what gets me every time is how Ed Milliband (Labour leader) pronounces the word 'wrong'. He pronounces it 'worng' in a mournful bleat. Glad I got that off my chest : )

Claudia Del Balso said...

Obama is just playing politician like everyone else.

Mike Keyton said...

Claudia, true. Sometimes the stakes are high.

Jay Paoloni said...

I agree with Claudia.

"Yes, America must do the right thing, but to provide moral leadership, America must do it in the right way, too." David Cameron

"We need the Chinese to - you know, spend more, save less - consume more and not be so focused on exports".

Everyone needs and wants something from everyone else. Americans, just like the British. Right?

Mike Keyton said...

Everyone needs and wants something from everyone else. Americans, just like the British. Right?

Absolutely, Jay and that includes the right to answer back : )