More Petchabun hills & Dales
- Foot of a waterfall
I won’t pretend that it’s been an easy week.
Noo’s father died last Tuesday morning and the funeral started on Wednesday and will finish today. The mourners go to the Wat every day for hours of praying and in the evening they congregate at Noo’s family home for food, drink and reminiscing. Yesterday they burnt the body.
I am not expecting Noo back before next Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday – the longest I’ve been alone since we met over 3 years ago. (I did go to the UK alone in 2011 for 3 weeks, but I wasn’t really alone as I had my family around me the whole time.)
Anyway, the worst is over, and the 4 dogs and I will soldier on until our lady returns. I’m not sure who misses Noo the most – me or my dogs….
I went out a few times and tried to misbehave a little, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I guess my carousing days are finally over and I am at long last becoming a family man.
Anyone who has driven around the lake in the early morning recently may have been amused at the sight of an ancient farang walking slowly alongside the lake, with two little dogs on the end of two leads held in his right hand and a feisty labrador trying to drag him along on the lead in his left hand.
Completing the picture is Cookie, my ageing, very shaggy golden retriever, who wanders lead-less, amongst us, laughing at our combined efforts to make any headway. We make slow but steady progress, as each of the 3 dogs on leads takes it turn to have a piss or a shit, so every time one stops, we all have to stop. They are all surprisingly understanding of the need to keep stopping – even Mickey the Labrador, sits patiently until one of his little brothers has completed his ablutions.
Cookie, of course, has total freedom of movement, bless her….
With the predictable exceptions of the Guardian and Independent – and even they weren’t overtly critical – almost the entire British press was pretty much in favour of the speech the British Prime Minister gave the other day on the subject of Britain’s on-going and tortuous relationship with the European Union and his proposals to hold a referendum some five years hence, if he is still PM.
Yes, the print media generally favours or at least offers constructive criticism to our Dave’s plan of action, yet if you were to watch the UK television, including the prestigious BBC World, you would think that he was the most stupid man in the universe and he was leading his nation to certain economic Armageddon.
On the political news programme ‘This Week’, the liberal Democrat, Shirley Williams, tried to convince us that it was simply not true that a majority of the public either wanted out of the EU completely, or at the very least wanted renegotiation in terms of membership.
I think it is accepted by all spectrum of society – including the Labour Party – that most of us Brits are Euro sceptic these days; but ‘Oh No!’ says Williams. ‘All the polls are rigged and the pollsters are asking the wrong questions….’
She seems almost as demented as those who support gun ownership…
Many of British industry’s leading lights also gave Dave’s speech the thumbs up, and he even received a surprising, albeit low key support, from Germany’s ‘Iron lady’, none other than Angela Merkel herself.
But I get ahead of myself.
There was also the predicable predictable outbursts from other European leaders – notably the French, who came out with hog wash like ‘You can’t Cherry pick’ and you can’t have an ‘A la Carte’ Europe.
Non, messieurs! We can’t pick and choose the rules; but maybe we can pick and choose what rules we want to obey and ignore the rest– like you frogs have been doing for decades…
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will be well aware of my antipathy towards the EU and its ridiculous rules, mainly passed by unelected bureaucrats.The pro/anti EU debate has raged throughout the world’s media and blogs for so long that I won’t even attempt to perpetuate these arguments – either for or against – in today’s blog.
What I will do is to remind you, and bore those of my friends who still read my wayward jottings, that once upon a time, in a previous incarnation I was a bit of a big wig – a financial chief executive – in the financial services sector in the city of London.
During that previous life, I never wavered from my firmly held view that Britain should never join the European Momentary Union (Euro), at a time when virtually every organisation, and every single person who worked in the city was convinced that we should. The Chief Execs, the CFO’s, bankers, audit partners, corporate lawyers, underwriters, brokers – just about anyone who was anyone were all telling me that I was off my head and that I should keep my opinions to myself.
‘Mark my words’ I used to say – and they all laughed at me as though I was crazy.
The reason why all these companies and supposedly highly intelligent individuals were convinced that we should joint the Euro was simply that on this subject, to a man they were all a bunch of sheep. It was a classic case of ‘The King’s New Clothes’. They didn’t dare to challenge the establishment’s view that it was the right thing to do.
They could roll off all the good things that would follow monetary union and would perfunctorily dismiss such obvious problems, such as the need to harmonise tax regimes. This is to say nothing of the ridiculous and inevitable drive towards political union.
Even back then I tried to point out that if a backward country such as Greece had a common currency with industrial Germany, it would be a recipe for disaster. But no one was listening – no one wanted to know. It would all work its way out – somehow.
Now we all know how it’s worked its way out. Greece is bankrupt – unable to pay its debts, with unemployment at almost 30%. There riots on the streets every day and millions are below the poverty line, without any access to even the most basic medical services. Italy isn’t too far behind.
And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible bureaucratic waste and the millions of rules and regulations which stifles business within the EU.
Did you know that EU haven’t had their accounts signed off by the auditors for decades? The few Euro civil servants who blew the whistle on this scandalous state of affairs were summarily dismissed! Neil Kinnock – Remember him? – he was one of the unelected commissioners that was at the heart of this murky affair and was responsible for removing officials who tried to tell us the truth.
I could go on and on about the EU and the Euro, but at the end of the day, for all its faults it is still a massive trading block and the UK would be very foolish to completely turn its back on it.
But that doesn’t mean that we should blindly accept all their stupid rules, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with trade and economics. This is the part that most of the British public wish to be re-examined, and this is what Cameron is proposing to do.
We acknowledge that our European allies are key trading partners, and that we should do everything possible to maintain and even increase our trade with them, but that doesn’t mean that our citizens should be locked up if we try and sell our vegetables in pounds and ounces at a local market, or that we should arrest employers who ask their staff work more than 8 hours a day. It is all complete and utter nonsense!
It seems to me that so many of us are scared what might happen if we dare to challenge these silly rules too much. The French are saying we simply can’t do it! The Europhiles in Britain are saying that we will collapse into a third rate economic nation if we leave the EU, or get thrown out.
It is all ridiculous scaremongering – very similar to that existed when everyone was predicting that it would be the end of Britain as we know it if we didn’t join the Euro.
Did you know that Britain is now Germany’s largest trading partner – yes, Britain is Germany’s largest trading partner!! It used to be France, but as the French economy has stagnated, we have stolen a march on them and are now ahead of not only France, but also the USA and China.
British goods exports to Germany rose 20 % over the first three quarters of 2012, compared to a year earlier, despite the economic downturn. The surge was led by medical equipment, drugs, car components, and petroleum goods.
Although rarely acclaimed, British suppliers and manufacturers are deeply integrated into the German industrial machine and enjoy the follow-through benefits of German exports to the rest of the world.
The two economies have become entwined, and Britain, particularly the financial services sector, is the biggest investment destination for German companies, despite us having different currencies.
BWM builds engines for its BMW 1 and BMW 3 series at Hams Hall near Birmingham that are then shipped back to Germany for further assembly. The engineering conglomerate Siemens exports turbines and a host of components made in Britain back to Germany.
Further, Angela Merkel has crossed swords repeatedly with France’s Socialist leader Francois Hollande over the Eurozone crisis, and Berlin fears that France may become a liability for the Eurozone after deferring tough reforms and letting state spending balloon to 55 percent of GDP.
Here’s another rarely mentioned, but very interesting fact. The European Monetary Union’s share of German trade has fallen from 46 % to 37 % since the launch of the euro, being displaced displaced by Asia, as well as Eastern Europe and – guess who? the good old UK. So Germany is spreading it’s trading links well beyond the confines of the EU.
It has been recently been authoritatively stated that Merkel will help Britain by offering safeguards for the City and backing for market reforms.
What all these doom-sayers don’t realise when they warn of doom and economic collapse if the UK leaves the EU, is the simple fact that any attempts to restrict or impose tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU would be just as harmful for European countries –especially Germany – as it might be for the UK.
It’s just not going to happen folks – and even if we did leave the EU, which I seriously doubt, my guess is that trade would carry on pretty much as before; but we would be free of all the petty restrictions that often inhibit our ability to trade with the outside world.
These days I’m not particular fan of Cameroon. I think he has shown very poor leadership and judgement on a number of key issues, but on the subject of the EU he has got it just about as right as he could – given the opposing factions in his own party, let alone the country at large.
Let him, or his successor at the next election, negotiate away, and let’s see what happens. I really believe we have little to lose and everything to gain. Let battle commence say I.
And please, dear readers, stop believing all these effing Europhiles and start to think for yourself. Don’t take my word for it; do your research, study the facts and stop being swept along by all these bleeding heart Euro-liberals who would have us sack the Royal family and pay obeisance to the President of Europe.
Well…they may have half a point there…..
Our Royal wastrels are in the news….again….
First up is Ginger Mop (father’s name unknown), affectionately known these days as ‘Horny Harry of Wales’.
Not content with becoming one of the youngest ever British army captains 2 years ago, (nepotism I hear you ask? Never! never!), then pointing his bare backside at a clutch of waiting iphones in Las Vegas last year, he now tells the world that killing Taliban insurgents is just like playing video games.
And the world’s media hangs on his every, stupid, thoughtless, asinine word.
Just Google ‘Prince Harry interview’ and you will get two million pages of links.
I don’t know about you, but I thought he was more fun when he put on a Nazi uniform or played ‘Strip Hal Naked’ in Sin City.
But maybe that’s just me.
And what about his adoptive pater?
Well apart from his hitherto secret interventions in literally hundreds of proposed laws over the past few decades, (along with ‘mater’… or Ma…aaam), he is now taking issue with the new Royal succession bill, which is currently making its way through parliament.
The bill changes the law of royal succession so that in future it matters not whether the first born is male or female, they will still inherit the ‘keys to the kingdom’ – the Royal crown of Britain.
For the sake of clarity, the changes mean that for all descendants of a future monarch, (or a Prince of Wales), a younger son will no longer take precedence over an elder daughter.
It has been approved by no lesser personage than his mum, Granny Lizzie, as well the 15 heads of Commonwealth countries – quiet a feat, Iwould imagine.
Yet ‘he who talks to trees’ has decided that it just doesn’t pass muster.
Well, even Dotty Prince Charlie is bright enough to know that he would anger half his realm if he dared played the sexist card. So instead, he’s playing the ‘catholic’ card – one that the rest of the human race thought was blown away in the gunpowder plot of 1605.
His concerns centre upon what would happen if his grandchild were allowed to marry a Roman Catholic, raising the prospect of a future heir’s children being brought up in that faith.
Apparently, that might result in the difficult constitutional scenario of the subsequent heir, due to become Supreme Governor of the Church of England, being a Catholic and therefore barred from the throne.
Prince Charles has been told such a problem could be resolved by negotiations with the Vatican – but he considers such a solution he was said to have found “unsatisfactory and unconvincing”.
Yet he has no worries if his grandchild married a Moslem, or a Buddhist or even a Jedi. So we can assume that It’s OK by his Mightiness if a Jedi Knight or a ‘Flat-Earther’ heads up the Church of England, but not the treacherous Catholics.
They might start a new inquisition and hang us heretics up by thumb screws.
What a load of religious hogwash! Does anyone, outside the elite few who perpetuate these outdated, stultified, anachronistic religious institutions, give a toss what religion the future monarch professes, or indeed what bullshit religion they are appointed to be its nominal High Priest(ess)?
It’s almost as bad as the Tibetan monks who choose their new God-like leader from the newly-borns. But at least they are ‘chosen’ and not born into privilege.
If you were to hear this kind of discussion in ‘Game of Thrones’, or ‘Star Wars’, you would probably smile at the ludicrousness of it all and go and put the kettle on to have a cup of cha.
What does it Matter?
‘What does it Matter?’ Hilary Clinton screamed at members of the congressional committee who was trying to pin her down on who killed the US ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi recently.
‘What does it matter?’ Beyonce’s agent asked, when doubts were raised over whether she was singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ live at President Obama’s recent inauguration.
It matters, because the truth matters.
Aren’t there enough lies, frauds, ‘miss-statements’, con-tricks, dishonesties, frauds and cheats in this world of ours without the Administration of the so-called ‘finest democracy on earth’ adding to them?
Isn’t the public entitled to know what really led up to the murders in Benghazi that day?
Aren’t the millions of people watching a live ceremony entitled to assume that when they watch someone singing their national anthem live, that it is really and truly live and they are not being deceived by some millionaire songstress who was scared that she might sound something less than perfect if she didn’t use a pre-recorded tape?
We seem to live in a world where truth no longer matters.
Is it any wonder that millions throughout the world still believe that the Americans never really landed on the moon?
Is it any wonder that even more millions throughout the world believe that it is God’s will for them to kill every non-believer, and that the more they kill, they more they will be rewarded in their next life?
Is it any wonder?
The truth does matter…
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