Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Wednesday 08/04/09

Reactions to my proposal yesterday to tax consumption, rather than income, were mixed. One positive benefit of taxing consumption is that people would be incentivised to save rather than consume. I heard an item on the radio this morning that very few individuals in the UK have even as little as one month’s salary as a savings pot for a rainy day, which just goes to show how reliant people are on debt - and it’s an excessive reliance on debt that produced the financial crisis. If you were made redundant tomorrow and received no redundancy pay, would you be able to survive for a month? I would – in fact quite a bit longer than a month.

I don’t think Hay is coming back from China. She’s being treated like royalty - whisked through VIP areas of airports, using chauffeur driven limousines with black tinted glass, has three flunkies to carry her bags, etc. The hotel in Beijing is a veritable palace, which is a nice change from the sterile Joe Stalin School of Monumental Arhcitecture mausoleum she stayed in when in Nanjing. She’s visiting the Great Wall of China today, but her phone camera has packed up. She’s back home tomorrow evening – hopefully just in time to cook me a dinner (getting a bit fed up of cheese and wine).

Jacob Zuma, the President of the ANC, has been cleared of financial irregularities after charges against him were thrown out of court. He claims he was a victim of a systematic abuse of power. Goof grief – just wait till be comes into power and you’ll see what a systematic abuse of power really is, you mark my words.

International porn baroness and UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was on the radio yesterday speaking of her abuse of housing expenses. She said her use of MPs' allowances as "fair and reasonable" and that it was the "nature of the job" that MPs had to furnish and run two properties. Since when did owning one home and renting a room in your sister’s house mean furnishing and running two properties – unless she’s paying her sister’s mortgage. Are MP’s genetically incapable of owning up to their mistakes and saying sorry?

A spray (let’s see how many click on that link) developed by the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast is to help men with premature ejaculation problems, purportedly prolonging the length of time they have sex by six times. There’s not enough information in this story - either they can now attain an incredible six seconds per session, or can continue to have sex till they’re well into their 4th century. Not sure which it is.

While sorting my earwax figurine collection last night I read that Banksy, the renowned mural / graffiti artist, has had one of his ‘works’ in Bristol daubed with red paint by a group called Appropriate Media. It was done as a protest over the Stokes Croft area being gentrified. Perversely the locals are up in arms over what they see as an act of vandalism. I say perversely, as Banksy’s murals are in themselves artistic vandalism. Someone vandalizing his vandalism in order to make a social statement is something Banksy himself must surely approve of wholeheartedly – unless he’s been seduced into becoming part of the establishment. Think about it.

Thought for the day: “The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone who is capable of significant change; that sort of person exists only in our imaginations.”


  1. And how telling that the universally worshipped Nelson Mandela - who was imprisoned for capital crimes) - has now endorsed the charasmatic Mr Zuma. The Baroness of Porn and her colleagues are mere babes at the feet of this King of Kleptocracy.

  2. Belle: From a local news report.

    An ANC spokeswoman, Lindiwe Zulu, said thousands attended the rally but Mandela did not speak. His grandson, Mandla, addressed the crowd instead, saying that he and his grandfather were "there to confirm their ANC membership and support for the party".

    Zulu said: "He said they were here to dispel any notion by anybody, anywhere who thinks that anybody within the Mandela family, particularly Nelson, were not supporting the ANC."

    So - Mandela as not actually supported Zuma - merely the ANC, which is his party.

  3. CB - From another local report;

    'Now, looking frail, bemused and ancient, he recently had to be helped on to the stage by his suspect would-be successor, to endorse the grotesque rabble who seek to succeed him'

    This was accompanied by a photograph of Madiba, wearing a t-shirt with the face of Zuma on it, being helped onto the stage by comrade Zuma himself.

    With hundreds of thousands of ANC supporters watching - this was endorsement - plain and simple...

  4. It’s all very well to say “very few individuals”, so how many is it ? In order to criticise people for not having a month’s salary put by, I’d need to know a bit more. For example, what’s the average wage in the UK and how many people earn below the average wage? If you’re earning a pittance, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head right now is what’s important and there often isn’t anything left over to put aside for a rainy day.
    As far as the financial crisis is concerned, I’d say that excessive reliance on debt is a symptom and that the search for profit is the cause.

    Ah yes, the old Joe Stalin School of Architecture motto: “Taedium et concretum”.

    I’m sure that jellyfish will figure somewhere in the dinner that Hay cooks you.

    Zuma, the title of a Ngaio Marsh book: As Black As He’s Painted

    Jacqui Smith international? Only if the DVD was foreign.

    Before clicking on the spray link, every man should ask his significant other if he or she really wants sex to last six times longer.

    Ah, yes, the old Damien Hirst School of Art motto: “Art is a load of bollocks”.

    In your thought for the day, I’d change “don’t mind” to “can tolerate without committing murder”.

  5. Sorry - mine was the Gruniad, not local.

    Just had a look at your report, which was by Peter Hitchens, but the photo did not show Mandela in a Zuma shirt. It was one of his normal multi-coloured jobbies.

  6. I have the hardcopy in front of me, and there are a number of other photographs attached. Also - may I point out, that this is not the first time that Madiba has been on stage with Zuma. As we well know, from the BBC's Tsunami fiasco, using stock photo's is pretty standard.
    Nevertheless, whether he was wearing the t-shirt or not, I still maintain that it was unadulterated endorsement.
    And... as it seems you are not convinced

  7. Nelson Mandela is well aware of the power of his words and actions. He has always supported Zuma albeit by remaining silent.

  8. Belle: To be honest, I'm speechless.

  9. And I bet you are wearing one of those multi-coloured jobbies too.