Bolshevik Roots

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In an earlier generation, during the grouse season the final Earl of Sefton was having lunch in the Jockey Club rooms in Newmarket. Cold grouse was on the menu. His Lordship ordered one. ‘Terribly sorry, m’Lord, there are none left.’ ‘But it’s barely one o’clock.’ ‘Yes, m’Lord, but the Duke of Norfolk is giving luncheon to the Queen and her party in the private dining room. There were only a dozen grouse, and he’s taken them all.’ Sefton banged the table. ‘That sort of thing breeds bolshevikism”
Courtesy of The Spectator Nov 27 2020

The Call of the Dinner Plate

There’s always room for a good political joke. I heard this (disparaging) remark about a politician I admire and thought it worthwhile repeating for cleverness and appropriateness for using against someone else.
“…spends his time trawling through the calendars of each village and town council to see when their next village fete or open day is so that he can fill his face at the trough. I’ve never known a man turn up to so many free lunches. He’d attend the opening of a letter if there was a sandwich in it for him!”

What Happened

Hillary Clinton’s new book  promises to reveal some interesting lessons for future political campaigns.
I particularly like the analysis:
“I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment,” she wrote. “I was giving speeches laying out how to resolve the country’s problems. He was ranting on Twitter.”
We saw Hillary twice at rallies and we saw Bill Clinton once. At no time did we think that her policies were off the wall as opposed to Bernie’s which were off kilter from the moment the Democratic Party gave him air time to promote his platform right up to when he refused to concede defeat and let Hillary focus on the main target – Trump.
I look forward to reading the book which must, in the final analysis, be a memoir of one of the greatest political tragedies of this century

You Could Not Make it Up – Giving Professionals a Bad Name!

Texperthe new Bank of England deputy governor Charlotte Hogg has warned that Brexit remains a risk to the UK economy, saying it poses the “most significant challenge” to monetary policymakers and could have “upside or downside” effects.
Well, No Sh*t Sherlock!
There’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious!
Note the “Upside or downside” – no Mr In-between, no upside and downside, not a little bit of both just to keep everyone happy but a full a polarity choice.
Meanwhile Ms Hogg, who has not held a policymaking position with the Bank of England before but who has run the operations side of the Bank since 2013, claimed that not being an expert was an advantage. Andrew Tyrie, Tory chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, said: “You haven’t got that [policy] experience.” Ms Hogg replied: “I don’t and I think that’s a plus.”
Meanwhile I shall keep my eyes open for the next Bank of England Sits-Vac advertisement –you never know when a lack of expertise will be a real qualification.

Rome is calling

No, not in the sense that my New Year Resolution is to be elected Pope by acclamation like St. Fabian. It’s just that the New Year’s Eve Spectator contained the gem that best food market in Rome is the Mercato Testaccio and the thing to eat there is a smordi-e-vai-aandwich from Mordi e Vai called el panino all’allesso which is a bread roll dunked in dripping then layered with tender slices of beef. Just the thing to stock up the waistline prior to Lenten contemplation. Meanwhile the Spectator’s weekly competition focussed on meaningless, pseudo-profound statements. The prize winners (£5 each) included the following:
The camel of forgetfulness knows more than the python of curiosity.
It is sometimes wiser to circle the square than to square the circle.
No snail by wishing can become an elephant.
But my favourite is: A ceiling keeps thing in, a roof keeps things out. – just the sort of thing a budding realtor should  know about.

Basket of Deplorables Sounds About Right

Celia Rivenbark is a columnist, born and raised in North Carolina. She is also a best selling author. This is this week’s oeuvre.

donald-trumpLet’s just put aside the obvious nut job rumors like how Hillary Clinton has a body double, how she has murdered at least two people in her decades-long presidential power grab and how she rattles a necklace of bleached chicken bones every full moon to cast a spell on her enemies.
I know that’s the sort of stuff that makes Sean Hannity giddy but, really, most of us have better sense than that.
Let’s concentrate, instead, on the now famous “basket of deplorables” which, the first time I heard it, sounded like the least popular floral arrangement ever.
“Hmmmm. I was going to go for the Sunlit Meadows or the Precious Hearts bouquet but, what’s this? The Basket of Deplorables? That sounds pretty intriguing. What’s in it?”
“Well, there’s asters, carnations, baby’s breath and a bit of misogyny and homophobia.”
“Really? No daisies? And at that price point I’d expect at least a sprinkle of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”
“We can always add some of those in. They have been very popular lately.”
Yes! The Basket of Deplorables available for only $49.99 at your local florist.
The phrase, which I predict will become part of the political lexicon like “gate” did, is captivating.
One wonders where HRC got this notion of a basket of deplorables. Was it a slip up? Did she mean to say something else? Baskets are such gentle things: adorned with flowers and affixed to the front of a little girl’s first bike. Baskets are usually filled with knitting supplies or calendar kittens or, my personal favorite, onion rings. Deplorables? Not so much.
As a longtime lover of linguistics (also alliteration), I have to say the phrase has resonated with me and I’m going to use it as often as possible, often completely out of context. I can’t stop, won’t stop saying it.
Unfortunately, as I embrace the basket of deplorables, HRC is walking back the phrase even as I write this. She now says she wishes she hadn’t said “half” of Trump’s supporters can be found in this basket, for instance.
Oh, woman up, Hills! Own the basket! Because, the truth is, you were right the first time. Half of Trump’s supporters, the ones whom I try very hard to understand and respect, will vote for him while holding their noses because they honestly believe his policies will result in less government intrusion. They are Libertarians at heart but they can’t bring themselves to vote for the guy who acted like he thought Aleppo was one of the Marx Brothers. So they vote for Trump out of frustration with the Washington establishment.
The other half? Yep, they live in the basket of deplorables. They vilify others on the basis of skin color, religion, sex, otherness. No amount of flowers can beautify this basket. It’s ugly and dark inside, the lid clamped shut to prevent daylight and decency from streaming in.
If Trump wins, we’ll be going you know where in this handbasket.

Strawberry Risotto Anyone?


Last week’s Spectator contains a review of the book High Dive* which is a fictionalized account of the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984.
Fictionalised because the book contains a reference to the chef whose signature dish of  “Strawberry Risotto topped with Parmegiano Stardust would be enough to make anyone go on hunger strike”

*High Dive is by Jonathan Lee and published by Heinemann


Republican Party Leadership Issues

GOP_SquareThe New York Times today reporting on the difficulties being experienced by the Jeb Bush campaign included the following comment:

“I have no feeling for the electorate anymore. It is not responding the way it used to. Their priorities are so different that if I tried to analyze it I’d be making it up.”

JOHN H. SUNUNU, the chief of staff for the first President George Bush, on his confusion with the rise of Donald J. Trump and the struggles of Jeb Bush.

Some of the readers’ comments suggest that the G.O.P. leadership is out of touch with the voters. But I think it is more complicated than that. Donald Trump articulates the wisdom of the saloon bar. Simple answers to complex questions. One question for 2016 is: will Trump have the organization to get out the vote? There are other questions of course, but they are for another post

The Hidden Virgo

Virgo HeveliusOnce again, Shelley Von Strunckel hits the button dead centre.
Last week in the Sunday Times she wrote “Virgos often have a seriously proper streak. However that belies their molten sensuality within”.
Similarly, she wrote of the then coming week “… usually doing a disappearing act would be unwise. Now, however it is best, as it allows you to avoid difficult conversations until the full facts surface”.
Now I don’t know what difficult conversations there might have been but I was glad in any case to spend a few days in Bucharest. Meanwhile I shall contemplate and cultivate the molten sensuality within.