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30 December 2011

Another Mad Year - 2011

I had high hopes for 2011. I thought it was going to be unique. There’d never been a year called ‘2011’ before and the chances of their being another year called ‘2011’ seemed remote. Then I remembered I had high hopes at the beginning of every year and decided to be more rational in the future.

Anyway, this is how it panned out, in no particular order (as they say on the “X-Factor”).

Our Dear Leader, “Call me Dave” Cameron, decided that the National Health Service should be turned upside down, handing financial control to consortia of local GPs. None of this was in the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos, but when were political manifestos ever worth more than a row of beans?

There was so much hostility from the professionals that the Government went away for another think. I think they are still thinking.

I hope they remember that basis of the NHS is that everybody, regardless of income, is entitled to receive hospital acquired infections free at the point of use.

The British Government (a Coalition of the Unwilling) held a referendum on changing the voting system. The Liberal Democrats had been pushing hard for this, and I supported it, being a life-long critic of the undemocratic “first past the post” system (which only works democratically if you have no more than two candidates). Anyway, the “Yes” Campaigners ran such an abysmal show, talking complete rubbish that the country voted for the status quo (which is Latin for rock music).

Some Arab nations protesting and fighting their way towards some kind of democracy, whilst a couple of European nations went in the opposite direction by being coerced into forming governments led by unelected technocrats.

Libya’s deranged Colonel Gaddafi

began losing control of his country after 40 years of dictatorship and farting in public. There was a major uprising in Benghazi (where the people were fed up with the stink) and the curly-headed madman used his Air Force to quell the uprising, declaring he would hunt down his own people like rats. Things were beginning to look so serious that the UN and NATO got involved, resulting in a NATO-controlled No-Fly Zone over the country, to thwart Gaddafi’s murderous activities. In a rare and relatively short display of successful military action involving no “boots on the ground” the Colonel was eventually defeated, meeting an undignified end being hauled out of sewer and shot.

As the flies began to congregate around his corpse I wondered about the efficiency of the no-fly zone.

A British comedian wondered why the self-styled Dictator only gave himself the rank of Colonel, putting himself no higher than someone qualified to sell fried chicken in a bucket.

Tunisia held its first democratic election in history and there was a 90% turnout. Imagine achieving that in Britain!

President Assad

(Arsehead?) of Syria got into a similar game to Gadaffi, slaughtering thousands of his own people who had the bare-faced cheek to protest against his repressive regime, but no sign of the Western Powers intervening in this case.

By the end of year it was reckoned that his forces had killed 5,000 and arrested 15,000 of his people, prompting calls for him to be brought before the International Court for crimes against humanity.

Then there was the “Eurozone” crisis. This was a crisis within a crisis. We already a worldwide economic crisis caused by a poorly regulated banking system either going berserk with other people’s money, or conducting fraudulent operations, or both. Within the European Union, countries like Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain reaped the whirlwind of their profligacy; Greece, in particular, was on the verge of collapse and required gigantic bale-outs from the rest of the “Eurozone”.

(Beware Greeks requiring gifts!)

American special forces located the whereabouts of Osama Bin Liner
(residing comfortably in Pakistan). They stormed the premises and killed him, thus ending a man-hunt that started after the tragic attack on the World Trade Centre.

Dave the Toff attended a special European Summit meeting in Brussels called to reach an agreement on rules to be followed to save the Euro. This currency had been doomed from its inception because it was set up without considering the political necessity to make participating countries function virtually as a single State for it work, and certain countries (Greece in particular) should never have been allowed to join, but the books were cooked (and the Greeks are not particularly noteworthy for their cooking). The UK had wisely decided to stay out of it. (Sterling work.)

Nevertheless, anything happening in the 17 countries using the Euro affects the UK’s trade with Europe and so it was necessary (along with nine other countries still using their own currency) to attend this Summit.

Instead of negotiating a deal protecting Britain’s interests, Cameron just refused to be party to the agreement signed by all the other 26 countries and took his bat and ball home to the rousing cheers of the Conservative Party’s rabid right-wing Europe-hating back-benchers. He was publicly criticised by his Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister and several others.

Cameron now has one foot on the jetty and other on the boat that is departing. We can only hope he’s good at doing the splits, but in any case there’s still bound to be a big splash!

America’s motley collection of Republican circus clowns called the Tea Party drove their political bus into the presidential circus ring and the doors fell off in time-honoured fashion accompanied by the hooting and honking of mad ideas, political amnesia, suspect intelligence, and sexual scandals.

I had a brief e-mail correspondence with one of these guys and he wrote me long essayson the American Constitution, and the evils of Government. He said the Minimum Wage was a disaster and American healthcare was “the best in the world, and anyone can get access to it” (!) Free-market capitalism was the only way forward. He told me that if he met anyone who “wanted to be

controlled by government” he would “send him to England” and perhaps I would like to “send him anyone I knew who loves freedom”.

One of America’s right-wing backwoodsmen came back into the fray on behalf of the Tea Party Movement: Newt Gingrich. Imagine having an American President with a weird name!

In Italy, Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi raised the tone of political debate by declaring the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to be an “unfuckable lard bucket”.

Japan suffered a horrific tsunami with huge loss of life and fatal damage to a nuclear power plant causing radiation leaks. This reopened the question in Britain of whether we should be building new nuclear power stations to secure our future power supplies. Meanwhile we continued to suffer from the installation of wind turbines – one of the biggest confidence tricks perpetrated on a gullible population (and government). There were now so many of these ineffectual eye-sores blighting the British countryside that if we could run them as propellers we could probably fly the country across the Atlantic.

What wondrous things are wind turbines!

When it’s freezing cold and we all need extra power, we can be without wind for days on end whilst they generate diddly squat. On other days when the wind blows hard they shut the damned things down to avoid damage. In one memorable instance a turbine was working so hard it caught fire. It’s hard to think of anything good to say about them unless you are a rich land owner getting even richer by allowing dozens of the things to sit on your land.

In Britain the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The same thing happened in America but to an even worse extent.

Cambridge lost the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race by about 3 lengths – more bad news (unless you happen to be an Oxford supporter).

During the summer London and several other major cities in the UK were treated to an unprecedented outbreak of rioting and looting, sparked off by the Police in London shooting and killing a young man. Businesses were ruined, the Police were ineffectual, and there were many instances of outrageous behaviour. Eventually there were thousands of arrests and cases heard in courts operating all night. Severe sentences were handed out. It was notable that these scenes were not repeated in Scotland or Wales, thus reinforcing my view that the English are in many ways a defective race of people.

Trade Unions objecting to austerity measures that were going to affect their pensions combined and called a one-day strike near the end of the year. That demure and sensitive soul, Jeremy Clarkson (of Top Gear fame) declared on TV that the strikers should all be taken out and shot in front of their families.

Clarkson also took the opportunity this year of letting us know that people who jumped in front of trains to kill themselves were being very selfish holding up everyone else on the train. The train driver should be replaced and the train re-started, leaving the foxes and crows to deal with whatever bits of the body still remained scattered about the track. Clarkson’s mouth is so big he can get both feet into it, and with a bit of effort (and luck for the rest of us?) might even be able to swallow himself.

Another vile dictator died: Kim Jong-il of North Korea. We watched thousands of North Koreans wailing and gnashing their teeth at this tragedy that had overcome them, demonstrating the degree to which they had all been

brainwashed, or coerced, or both. No doubt this man (who appeared to one of the select few in North Korea who got enough to eat) arranged for his headstone to be engraved, “I told you I was –il”. He was replaced by his son (also well-fed).

Once again we saw that Communism turns its own philosophy upside down and produces an elite dynasty of all-powerful dictators. “Power to the people”? .. bollocks!

Talking of political philosophies, we have now firmly established (except in the eyes of Cuba, North Korea and China) that Communism doesn’t work. We appear also to have firmly established that Capitalism doesn’t work either. What 2012 needs is a new “–ism” that does work. Nobody’s come up with any useful ideas yet.

Britain celebrated the Christmas spirit by having a fatal stabbing in Oxford Street, a knife attack in the same area on the same day, and a fatal shooting in Manchester.

In conclusion, 2011 has been much like any other year in recent times, and 2012 will probably continue much in the same vein.

In other words, plus ça change plus c'est la même chose – which is French for Isn’t this where we came in?

Happy New Year to my six readers.