LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
25 November 2017
No Joke

It’s not how many jokes, it’s how many jobs. Ha. Evidently it is about -jobs? Ha.
Yes, yes, joker Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his ‘stand-up’ budget and
we haven’t had two minutes without the media analysing, dissecting it. Not his
jokes. By now your brain has trained itself to go blank at the word ‘budget’ surely.

So, just a bit about it. Sorry. Skip this section if you choose to; it’s short. But, if
you have been staying awake at night wondering where that £350m a week
promised for the NHS has been hiding – it has been found. But now it’s once -
for one week. Clever, right? But, £3.7 billion to negotiate how to make Britain a
mere blip via Brexit. Accountants, lawyers; clever, that. Phil has been savaged
for spending nearly £1bn more on Brexit than the cash-strapped NHS. Clever.

OK. Now for universal credit. So far the universal credit has only been rolled out
to 600,000 of the benefits-needing 7million recipients. If it is costing £1.5billion
now, when fewer than a tenth of people are enrolled…. simply another example
of the government’s brilliant efficiency.

Stamp duty dropped for first-time buyers for houses under £300,000; that’s
£5,000 off. However – for the lower end of the property market, where you would
have thought it would be crucial, it will be harder for the less affluent and – it’s
been promised, it will increase house prices – and properties just over
£500,000, will have to be cut. The result will be 3,500 new homeowners. Huh? I
think I’ve given myself a headache. Well, no housing is a headache isn’t it?
Sorry.

The economy? Remember that? Well, you will. Plan for the worst decade for
worker productivity since – ready? – since Napoleon invaded Russia. Is that a
gasp? It’s set to shrink by £65billion over the next five years. No worries. We’ll
have the longest fall in living standards in 60 years since records began. All
right. Worry – a lot. The Institute of Fiscal Studies has warned that millions of
households will experience a decade and a half of lost wage growth. IFS
director, Paul Johnson: “…it’s very grim for living standards…it’s
unprecedented.” Austerity? Forever.


No Stone Unturned

Still a Brexiteer? Well, wave goodbye to brand Britain – plus ça change. Britain
lost its seat in The International Court of Justice, the world’s highest court if you
didn’t know. Now we lack a British judge for the first time since its founding in
1943. 1943, when Britain played a key role in its founding. Reduced status?
What status? Sir Christopher Greenwood was expected to be re-elected for a
second nine-year term, by the way. Lost to India. Ironic, no?

A senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Charles
Kupchan said: “The international community is already devaluing Britain’s
international sway. Outside observers see a country that…engages in a sad act
of self-harm and self-isolation.” Reality bites – again.

And if you thought for one minute, that was all, think again. Paris will be the new
home of the relocating European Banking Authority while the European
Medicines Agency is moving to Amsterdam. Ouch.


Say Cheese

Finally. Good news, if you like cheese and surely you do. There are World
Cheese Awards – and we won. Not France, not Italy, Britain. Really.

How did we win? A judging panel of 230 makers, buyers, retailers and writers
examined and naturally tasted and over 3000 cheeses from around the world.
Now that is surely a lot of cheese.

Cornish Kern of Cornwall was awarded by 75 out of 80 points. Made by Lynher
Dairies Cheese Company, it takes 16 months for the medium-hard Alpine-style
cheese’s flavour to develop. It’s described as “firm to the cut but slightly flaky in
the middle, buttery with caramel notes and a deep savoury aroma.” See. You did
need to know that. Meanwhile, the winning cheese’s creator: “I’m on top of the
cheese world!” as you would be. Ah. We’re finally the big cheese.


Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll

Off the Christmas list. Morrissey claimed in German news site Der Spiegel, that
those who report sexual assault are actually just ‘disappointed’ with the outcome
of a Weinstein ‘incident’. Evidently Morrissey has little faith in male
performance. “But if the incident had gone very very well, and led to an
incredible career, they wouldn’t mention it.” Count the times. Really. See what I
mean?

Kevin Spacey was next. Morrissey commented on Anthony Rapp’s allegations
that the actor made sexual advances on him when he was just 14-years-old: “I
don’t know about you, but in my youth I was never in situations like that. If you're
in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware of where it could lead to. It
seems to me like he’s (Spacey) been unnecessarily attacked.” ‘Like’ an attacked
attacker then?

Morrissey doesn’t stop. He had more to say about underage sex in the music
industry. “The entire history of groupies – kids who throw themselves at groups
and stay in the hotel through the night in the lobby – they want to be with those
groups. If you go through the history of music, everybody must be guilty of
underage sex, so are you going to throw everybody in prison?”  Does he have a
list?

Off the Christmas list and left out in the cold. Morrissey: what a moron.


Going Cold Turkey

Erm. Has anyone noticed we have now surpassed the 51st state status? Black
Friday – oh for god’s sake! You surely know it’s mostly a scam and if you don’t
– you should. And now there is pressure for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!  I can’t
help myself. THANKSGIVING!

Marshmallows melted on mashed sweet potatoes? Cranberry sauce from a tin?
Being forced down our throats. Yuck. With British…note here…
British Vogue
giving all those helpful hints on how to decorate, how to spend time with friends
and family who intend Thanksgiving to become a British holiday. Columnists
urging us to adopt it. Am I living in an American parallel universe? Get me out.
This is not only madness, but seriously incense-producing. Someone stop this!
Boycott, sign petitions, march – anything to prevent the complete take over.
Please.

Let’s deal with reality for a minute. By 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop
was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of
Pequot Indian men, women and children. More massacres to remove the
indigenous followed, as we know, until between 95 and 99 percent of American
Indians had been exterminated or forced onto reservations. Genocide may not
be as palatable as turkey and gravy.

Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly,
most of the rest of the non-white, but non-indigenous population) celebrates the
beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men held up as heroic
founding fathers.

Remember. These are the same relatives you are going to have to spend
Christmas with. Time for a re-think? Best now than once the entire family
decides to make it the annual eat-until-you-gag day.
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