Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
THIS portrait of Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott cost you £11, 750.
She is not alone on those elite Commons’ walls. Between 2000 and 2010, 21 parliamentarians were immortalised in paint and bronze.
FRANCOIS Hollande, the French president, says Closer magazine’s exposure of his alleged affair with Julie Gayet, an actress, is outrageous. (Always the actress.) The details are not especially juicy. The highlight is that Hollande arrives for trysts in a borrowed flat on the back of a scooter.
FRENCH President Francois Hollande has been discussing Mali with Julie Gayet. Incredibly, news that a French politician shags around is, well, newsworthy. But as the tabloids make ready to break the news that Katie Price sleeps on her back and Simon Cowell owns just 8 CDs, we notice a funny thing: many in the media are referring to Gayet as an “actor”. This gives the story a shade more intrigue:
The Australian: “French President Francois Hollande having affair with actor”
The Tribune: “French magazine says Hollande having affair with actor”
DO you shape the news to fit your agenda? Do you see in every news story the chance to bang a drum for what it you believe in or desire? In his “2013 – the year in review. Peter Popham writer in the Independent of Nelson Mandela. He tells us:
It took his death, but the world came together for a moment for Nelson Mandela
The world came together. But what’s this? The lead photo has a caption:
ARVIND Kejriwal is Delhi’s new chief minister, head of the new anti-corruption party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), or Common Man’s party (the party symbol is of a broom) and champion of the common man.
Mr Kejriwal will be transparent and clean in all things – even his insides are open to the public gaze.
THE Nelson Mandela keep-fit tribute video:
As many of you might know, this week we lost one of our favorite son’s here in South-Africa, Nelson Mandela.
So I decide to go and shoot a workout video in a very special place to pay our respects to this great man!
IN around 1910, British Intelligence noted that Michael Collins “Will Stop at Nothing”.
Michael Collins, Chief of I.R.A. & organizer of all ambushes and murders, eyes dark & sharp. Often wears the disguise of a Priest. He sometimes wears a black moustache, which is false, and often changed for another colour. He has been known to travel as a nun. Collins, who will stop at nothing, is an expert shot.
WHAT makes a memorable, quotable quote, the kind of thing you slap in an essay at school to earn a tick, or include in an article to illustrate a point, your theories backed up by a person of note’s wit and wisdom? Like you, we have no idea. But Phil Lucas has nailed it. It could be anything. He’s taken Facebook status updates and attributed them to famous faces. No longer trite, the words are injected with meaning and depth. Well, maybe:
Martin Luther King
YOU may not know, but Robin Thicke is the first man ever on Earth to be featured in a clip with some naked women for spurious reasons. We checked on Twitter and the outrage confirmed it.
And his Blurred Lines video really caused a stink, to the point that it has prompted a petition urging Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron to change the law and ban children from watching dirty music videos online.
WE have Ed Miliboy whining about a tax cut for hedge funds:
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, in September suggested that Labour would reinstate the tax, describing the Coalition move as a “tax cut on hedge funds”.
Hmm, wonder what this could be?
The Treasury has promised to abolish “Schedule 19” stamp duty reserve tax, which applies to some investments sold by funds.
NELSON Mandela Balls: Golf 365 talks about golf:
The great man who was Nelson Mandela strongly believed that sport could be one of the most inspirational unifiers of a nation and so it may be more than a mere coincidence that the Nelson Mandela Championship, presented by ISPS Handa, is set to be played this week.
TO the Nelson Mandela jamboree, where David Cameron, Barack Obama and “Danish PM”are the stars of what the Sun is calling “Selfie-gate”.
All eyes, however, should be on Michelle Obama, who could well be thinking: “The blondes. Always the blondes.”
US Senator Rick Santorum will now tell Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that Nelson Mandela’s battle against apartheid is just like his opposition to the Affordable Care Act:
“He was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that.”
ON May 10 1998, four men made a dramatic appearance on the platform at a special Sinn Fein conference in Dublin. There was ‘stamping of feet, wild applause and triumphant cheering’ during a 10 minute ovation while the men known as the Balcombe Street gang stood grinning with clenched fists in the air. At the same conference, and to great applause, Gerry Adams described the four men as ‘our Nelson Mandelas!’
WHEN Nelson Mandela died, the tribute industry went into overdrive. Words were said. Acres of newsprint filled. Hours of television focused on one man. He is praised rightly for his strength of character in facing down a brutal, humiliating and dehumanising system underpinned by the fraud of white supremacy. And then John Simpson, the BBC reporter, said that Mandela’s death at 95 left him feeling orphaned. The white BBC man was orphaned by the death of the 95-year-old black South African? They had shared blood, as father to son?
We looked around. Was anyone else rolling their eyes? Yes.
HOW politics works: Xadrian McCracken works with the Illinois Department of Corrections. His salary is $110,000 a year. So says Breitbart’s Mike Flynn. He says McCracken has been arrested no fewer than 24 times. He is thus well versed in all sides of the prison system.
Not that 24 arrests means he’s a criminal. He could be unlucky or picked upon. Indeed, Flynn might be guilty of a little prejudgement, given that Xadrian’s surname is McCraven, nor McCracken, of the Safe McCrackens.
CHANCELLOR George Osborne mets Geri Halliwell at his annual Christmas party at No11 Downing Street in London. Rupert Grint was there, too. He;s the third wheel of the Harry Potter gang, tipped to be the next Dennis Waterman. He’s not quite made it.
IT is only when important figures die that you start to reflect and realise what you had before your eyes all this time. In Nelson Mandela, we had a Martin Luther King Jr. We had a Gandhi. We had a Malcolm X. Of course, these people were divisive, but everyone should applaud what they aimed to do – stop unfair, inhumane treatment of people who aren’t white.
To some Mandela was a terrorist. To most, he was a man who defied a racist regime, went to prison and stayed strong in his belief to do the right thing and, inexplicably, he managed it. Apartheid, initially a ghettoisation of people, dressed up all cuddly by White Supremacists as ‘helping us all to be better neighbours’ rather than ‘Hey! Black guy! Whitey will have where you’re stood, ’til the horizon, thanks! And we’ll kill you if you complain!’, was lead by Mandela and the whole world rejoiced because he never gave up in his quest to end segregation.
INEQUALITY. Is it harmful? It can be. When caused by cronyism.
In other words, is it a bad thing for a country to have some really rich people? Again, it depends on how they got rich.
Sutirtha Bagchi of the University of Michigan’s business school and Jan Svejnar of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs studied how inequality correlates with economic growth. In general, more inequality meant slower growth, and less inequality meant faster growth.
But in many countries, over various time periods, growing inequality had no effect on economic growth. The new study suggests that an increase in inequality hurt the economy when the rich were getting rich through political connections.
That is, inequality hurts the economy when “a large share of the national wealth is held by a small number of politically connected families,” as the authors put it. . . . When a country’s wealthiest people got their wealth as Pangestu and Fridman did, inequality places a drag on the economy. When a country’s wealthiest got wealthy through market means, the resulting inequality has no negative effect on economic growth.
This jibes with what we know about free markets. If people can get rich by providing valuable things at good prices, then society will get more valuable things at good prices—and people across the income spectrum benefit. But if people get rich by pocketing subsidies and using the state to crush competitors, then they gained their wealth at the expense of everyone else.
NELSON Mandela is dead. The world salutes a lost leader. And we ask that only South Africans call him Madiba. And then John Simpson types his tribute to the man:
The BBC reporter softens readers up before the pic last line:
I listed him as a hero in my examination for Cambridge, and when I got there in 1963 I found someone had painted “FREE NELSON MANDELA” in huge white letters on a wall that I had to pass every morning on my way to lectures. It caused a scandal at the time: graffiti was still frowned on in the early 1960s.
THE Mail leads with the news that a Ukip member thinks all immigrants should “go home“. She says she was referring to “illegal immigrants”. What is unclear is whether or not the paper agrees with her. How long will it be before Victoria Ayling is being talked about in positive tones by the Mail’s columnists?
“SEND them all back home,” says Victoria Ayling, according to the Mail. The paper says Ayling says all immigrants in Britain should be sent back home. Did she take the Ukip psychometric test designed to assess the candidates’ character and judgment? The fruitcakes and the deranged were weeded out. Or were they weeded in? Hard to tell. Problem is, if we can’t rely on Ukip to corral all the bigots and nutjobs into one place and give them a club rosette, they’ll scatter and in isolation be less entertaining.
As for Ayling, The Mail calls her a “high-profile UKIP politician”. But we’ve never heard of her before now. A quick spot of online tells us that in March, Ayling moved from the Tories to the Ukippers in March 2013. The BBC reported:
A former Conservative general election candidate claims many Tories are preparing to follow her lead and defect to the UK Independence Party. Victoria Ayling said she had lost confidence in David Cameron and believed the government was not doing enough to tackle immigration.
Mrs Ayling is councillor with East Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire. ..
In 2010 she came close to causing a general election upset when she reduced Labour MP Austin Mitchell’s majority in Great Grimsby to just 714 votes.
NIKKI Finke says the man how inspired the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom has died. Yeah, that film based on an actual true story. He was 95. That’s older than the film. Who knew?
THIS might sound a little odd and I’ll almost certainly be the only person telling you this. But George Osborne’s shelving of the fuel duty escalator is the right thing for him to be doing. No, not because it’s a tax cut, or not a tax rise, but because it’s the correct green thing to be doing for the environment. Yes, this is going to sound a little odd, isn’t it?
We need to go back a few years, to the Stern Review. In it the main recommendation was that we have to have a carbon tax at $80 per tonne CO2 emissions in order to beat climate change. This is the scientific consensus now, that we should have this tax.