Let’s be clear: the international economy almost stopped dead last autumn. We were within days of cashpoints throughout the Western world refusing to cough up money and of automated transactions, including payments of wages, simply freezing.
The Economist’s Charlemagne blog has a good piece on why Vaclav Klaus is being utterly ridiculous when he claims that the reassurances being made to Ireland and the UK over the Lisbon Treaty mean that he should hold off ratification:
Imagine that an internet rumour had started that Marmite (or baked beans, if you cannot stand Marmite) contained minute traces of pork fat, and this caused a fuss in British Jewish and/or Muslim circles. Then imagine that one supermarket offered to solve the problem by putting a kosher mark on the label, and another, with a big market share in northern England said they preferred to say it was halal on the label, and the whole thing became a fuss about multiculturalism. You could easily imagine the makers preferring to avoid putting any religious markings on the product at all. But one constant would remain through all of this fuss about whether Marmite is vegetarian, or baked beans kosher or halal. What was inside the jars and cans would not have changed “one iota”.
[*] well, if I wrote ‘good piece on the Lisbon Treaty’, who the hell would click through?
David Mitchell is entirely correct on the wheelie bin pseudo-scandal, as one might expect:
I can almost hear the Oxfam advert: “This is Andrea. Every week, she has to walk three bins all the way down the street, round the corner and into the backyard. It’s either that or people will see her bins. It’s crazy, but you can help.”
I’m very sorry to say it, but these wildcat strikers are idiots. Nothing wrong with striking at all – but always, always, always make sure it is an official strike endorsed by an official ballot and thus with the full force of law on their side – that way they can’t be arbitarily sacked for striking.
Instead these wildcatters seem to be ignoring their own union procedure and think that they can simply do what they feel like regardless. And now they are shocked they’ve been sacked.
Sheesh – it’s not as though the miners strike was centuries ago and has gone from folk memory. It was fairly recent and most union people learnt the central lesson, which was always ballot your members before striking to make it an official strike. That way you have the law on your side.
These wildcatters appear to be too stupid to learn from history and they’ve paid the price.
In much the same way that most Literal Music Videos aren’t funny, most mash-ups aren’t funny. In much the same way that the Total Eclipse Of The Heart LMV was epic genius, this is epic genius. And really rather sweet:
This article from Sunday 12 June has one of the most inaccurate sentences I’ve ever seen anywhere:
“Critics point out that it was a subsidiary of Northern Rock, Granite, that contained the liabilities that led to the collapse of the bank: Granite owned £49bn of mortgages that were sold by Northern Rock and moved offshore to the tax haven of Jersey.”
1) Granite wasn’t a subsidiary of Northern Rock, it was an umbrella term used to cover several different offshore organisations that were structured as charitable trusts and that specifically weren’t owned by NR.
2) Northern Rock didn’t have any liabilities through Granite – the whole point was that NR wasn’t liable for Granite’s debts. Rather, Granite’s bonds were secured against the mortgages that it bought from NR.
3) The collapse of the bank had absolutely nothing to do with Granite – it was because NR was reliant on short-term financing to cover the mortgages that it *hadn’t* sold to Granite, and this short-term financing dried up as the crunch began.