One of the little-known stories to emerge from the recent consumer frenzy that was Christmas, was the plight of the bell-ringers of York Minster. It seems that in late October last year the 30-strong bell ringing team was summoned at short notice and were abruptly told they were being sacked. The reasons for the move were given as health and safety and risk management. 600 years of chiming ceased. The Governing body then tried to recruit replacements from local churches but in an unprecedented example of solidarity amongst Yorkshire campanologists, none came forward. One assumes a very Silent Night resulted.
Staying with the Christmas theme, I only recently became aware of the sinister and bullying undertones in the popular song Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer. Alright, he was born with a shiny nose which glowed but there was no need for all the other reindeer to laugh and call him names. He was then excluded from their reindeer games which was very wrong of them. A victim of venison bullying just because he was different. However, the hitherto unknown shallowness of reindeer was then revealed when Santa invited Rudolf to pull the sleigh (albeit only because his fog-lights had packed up and who else was going to be available on Christmas Eve with a glowing hooter?). Then how the reindeer loved him – well they would wouldn’t they, the cloven-hooved sycophantic hypocrites. Next month we examine the Bing Crosby number “Do You Hear What I Hear” which subliminally suggests some kind of voices in his head.
I recently read that Ministers in Whitehall have the power to overturn laws made by the Welsh Assembly using Statutory Instruments which were enacted at the time of Henry VIII. Devolution – please! I wonder if we are ever going to stand up for ourselves as a Nation?
I thought I would stick to politics for a bit and wheel out the M4 proposed Black Route which will be a £1.3bn+ waste of your money. Actually, it is worse than this because we will need to borrow £500m from the UK Treasury and fund the balance ourselves whilst still paying for the Severn Bridges. I have never read such guff about the inward investment which is allegedly being lost because of the current snarl-ups. I have worked at the front-end of inward investment for the better part of 35 years and believe me the road is not a barrier. We should be overseas persuading investors to come here instead of worrying that they might be a bit teed off about paying a bridge toll and waiting at the infamous Brynglas Tunnels for twenty minutes. These were the first tunnels in the British motorway network and are still the only ones which were bored through rock. This was back in 1966 so by now technology must exist to take away Brynglas Hill altogether and widen the road accordingly. I bet it would not cost £1.3bn but then again, those businesses who stand to make millions from the Black Route would be a might peeved. Maybe they are the alleged inward investors?
Staying with business, I am pretty angry at not being paid or not being paid quickly for my services. I was recently involved in litigation with a client. I had secured a huge grant for them from our Government and they refused to pay me. Solicitors, Barristers and a gallop through the Companies Act and finally, they settled out of court – some 2 years later. I had a similar incident recently with an inward investor from China. Using my newly developed legal skills I threatened them or perhaps persuaded them of the inherent advantages of paying me. They did! I have many friends in business who are experiencing the same thing and as small businesses. Put simply, if we followed the example of some countries where one is paid on presentation of invoice and not some archaic 30-90 day arbitrary period to follow, then we would have no need for banks or lawyers……………..I have just seen the two flaws in my plan!
Let’s talk Brexit and look at all the stuff we buy from the EU. Practically every car on our roads was made in France, Germany, Italy or Spain. In fact, six out of seven cars sold in the UK in 2016 were imported. Then we have German supermarkets and Spanish high-street banks. Everywhere you look, up pops a European owned business. They sell to us in an unprecedented way which many politicians on both sides of the Chanel (I know) seem to have forgotten. They need us as much as we need them. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus were all bailed out with our money. We would only have to threaten to boycott say, all Spanish holidays for one year and Spain would go bust. Others would follow. As for being threatened by the Germans, oh please. A sense of déjà vu there (oh no, that’s the French again), but you know what I mean. Instead of meekly asking for crumbs from the EU table we should be banging it with a clenched fist to wake them all up, give them a reality check and put the Grande back into Grande Bretagne!
Anyway, on a lighter note, a woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Turkey and is named Amal. The other goes to a family in Spain, who name him Juan. Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, “But they are twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.”
Finally, a bloke entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
Auf Wiedersehen Mes Amis.