Whenever I have been broke it meant that I had no money. Apparently the same rules do not apply to countries.
America, which rents its homeland from China, hasn't got enough ready cash to pay its civil service. But for some reason that does not mean America is short of money. It baffles me in the way I used to baffle the Midland Bank.
I remember with joy the day my bank manager said to me “It would be nice if we could get back to our original arrangement where you gave money to me”.
That was the same bank manager, who, when I listed my hunting and boating expenses to illustrate the ‘Hamlet’s Ghost of my overdraft’,
replied, as older readers will recall: “May I remind you Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies as you are one of the Midland Bank's.”
Britain’s own fiscal fantasies soar to heights too rarefied for mere mortals. We are told that we have not sufficient money to run a decent health service or finance the wars in which politicians take such delight. Our fighting men are being rewarded with redundancy and we are spending £9.3bn of public money on a glorified schools sports day and £30 billion improving a rail service to cut half an hour off travelling times. By macabre coincidence, families will be £35 billion worse off as a result of cuts, which mostly will be wasted on Chattering Choo Choos.
About 30 years ago a man I met in a pub had a solution to our road and rail difficulties which even then seemed to politicians to be insoluble. “Canals,” he said. He pointed out that on the North Wales coast, 10 miles from where we were drinking, was a little used deep water port, one of many others round the coast of this septic isle. These ports were linked to what had once been a very efficient canal system.
Unfortunately, the canal system was much more efficient than the new rail service. So the rail companies bought the canals and allowed them to fall into disuse. If they were restored - and many have been since I met him - they would move freight at little cost whilst easing motorway congestion.
POTS AND KETTLES
Keith Vaz, who chairs the committee which is investigating the evil tabloids, claimed more than £75,500 in expenses for a flat in Westminster despite his family home being a £1.15 million house just 12 miles from parliament.
Its members are drawn from a parliament which practised expense fiddles on an industrial scale. Its evidence is provided by a police force under examination for corruption by the evil tabloids. Pots and kettles join in a merry dance
The wrongs they have committed still pale into insignificance besides the four U.S. reporters from Denver who started the Boxer Rebellion in China. On a slow news day they created a news story which fictitiously claimed four demolition experts had been commissioned by the Chinese to demolish the Great Wall as part of its plans to Westernise the country. Unhappily, the story was reprinted by newspapers in China where it infuriated boxing enthusiasts in an Athletic Club.
So incensed were they by this attack on China’s cultural traditions that they rioted. The riot escalated into the Boxer Rebellion in which thousands died, property was looted and the Emperor and his court were forced to flee. It took a month before peace was restored – North American Review, 1939.
What a blessing this blog is banned in that unhappy land. Perhaps that story is why. Once bitten twice shy and the knowledge they have bought America would be too much for the populace.
NOTES FROM THE LAND OF THE FREE
I visited the Conwy Council Recycling dump to see when I could dump some household things. The sign giving the opening times is very, very large, metal, and official. It reads :
Open Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm Apr - Sep
9am - 6pm Oct - Mar
Sat - Sun 9am - 6pm Apr - Sep
9am - 6pm Oct - Mar
In other words, they're open every day at the same time (except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, etc., etc.) No wonder they're in a mess.
A pub landlady who put up handwritten ‘No Smoking’ posters while waiting for official signs to arrive has been taken to court and ordered to pay nearly £300.
Inspectors who visited Dawn Lemm’s pub – the Judge and Jury in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, were told – discovered she had violated regulations which decree that ‘No Smoking’ signs must be rectangular with the shortest side at least 6.3in long.
A group of Morris Dancers was given marching orders from a pub – their shoes broke the bar’s music ban. The 15 members of the Slubbing Billy’s troupe, who hoped to enjoy a quiet drink after entertaining market goers with their folk routine, had assured staff that they weren’t there to perform their merry jig.
But they were left hopping mad after claiming that a barmaid yelled ‘No bells’.
From 2012-13, the basic salary for councillors across Wales will be £13,175. Leaders of the largest “Group A” councils – Cardiff, Swansea and Rhondda Cynon Taf – will receive £52,700, “Group B” council leaders will be paid £47,500, and “Group C” leaders will get £42,300. Similarly, payment for other senior roles – deputy leader, executive member, committee chairs, opposition leader and mayor – will vary according to authority size.