30 March 2012

Lentil soup and other important matters

You may think that I lead a quiet life out here in deepest Espana.  Not a bit of it.  This morning, I had the bar in an uproar, merely by asking what was the Spanish for coriander.  Much shaking of heads, until the quiet guy in the corner looked it up on his i-pad.  (Cilantro, if you must know.)

Nevertheless, I had to make my lentil soup without the benefit of coriander as the local supermercado let me down.  The soup turned out ok, but it lacked that essential something.  As SamCam would say, obviously coriander.

Yesterday's strike seems to have had an effect in Madrid and Barcelona and some other cities.  Little impact in our village.  Some bars and restaurants were closed and the transport was off.  I felt a bit guilty, having my lunchtime pint.  But that's no excuse.  And now I face an 7% increase in my electricity bills.  (If only Scottish Power behaved as moderately in Scotland.)

And it's not that warm.  All right sitting in the sun but a chilly wind in the shade.  Not shorts weather yet.  Supposed to hit 70 degrees tomorrow, but I'll wait and see before casting a clout.

 

Music of the week

Most of you won't remember 1979 but here is a rather well written curio from those days:


Stick that in your jerry can

What Arthur Daley used to call 'a nice little earner':
Long queues snaked back from forecourts again yesterday, garages shut after drying up and the Prime Minister was accused of presiding over a shambles. But there was one piece of good news for the Government from the ongoing row over fuel tanker drivers' threatened strike action: the petrol panic buying triggered by ministers' advice will bring an extra £32m to the Treasury's coffers from fuel excise duty.
Not that I'm suggesting that the government is behaving like a bunch of spivs, but if the trilby fits ...

Gorgeous George

Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability and your ability to succeed at parliamentary by-elections, especially as you come from Dundee.

29 March 2012

The last word

From The Telegraph (here):
The Chancellor may have snatched away benefits from mewling newborns, clobbered grannies and fawned over the super-rich, but his political reputation has been forever, ignominously heat-sealed inside a Greggs savoury.When his economic strategy has been long-forgotten, the grey-power brigade have emigrated to Liechtenstein, and the short-lived applause for his tax transparency has died down, the one thing that Britain will remember him for is being Too Posh for a Pasty.


   

Why am I so cynical?

More industrial unrest:

Further national industrial action was predicted today as thousands of teachers and lecturers from London marched on the department of education to protest against changes to their pensions.
Around 6,000 people - double initial predictions - joined the strike, organised by the National Union of Teachers and University and College Union, with around two thirds of schools in London being affected through closure or reduced classes.
I suppose that the government's advice to the general public will be to panic a little, stock up on education and buy some books, even though they may be a fire hazard in the home.

   

The farce continues

Oh yes, the Prime Minister's bathetic claim to have enjoyed a pasty in Leeds railway station.  The Independent continues:

But as reporters descended on the station to check the facts, it emerged the last West Cornwall Pasty Company outlet on the concourse had closed nearly five years ago – which means it had either served Mr Cameron a very memorable pie or he had mis-remembered.To compound the confusion, the only recently trading outlet, The Cornish Bakehouse, which opened in January 2010, had closed three weeks previously, a victim perhaps of the sluggish economic revival in the city. None of the staff working nearby could recall the PM dropping by recently for a quick bite.The episode took a final late-night twist when BBC2's Newsnight reported that it had been contacted by Downing Street to clarify that the Prime Minister had bought the pasty in Liverpool – and not Leeds – after all. The case continues.

Crumbs!

28 March 2012

Pull the other one ...

This is becoming ridiculous.  The Telegraph reports:
Mr Cameron said: “I love a hot pasty. I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time and the option was to have one of their small ones or a large one and I think I opted for the large one.”
Yeah, yeah, we believe you ...

Graph of the day


27 March 2012

Quote of the day

For its sheer improbability, from that master of the common touch, Slasher Osborne:
"I can't remember the last time I bought a pasty at Greggs,"

The Hunger Games

The Independent attributes the success of The Hunger Games to sociology:
The real reason the books sell is because they deal with outsiders who buck convention. Teenagers want to break the rules, and that's not necessarily a criminal inclination any more. The Hunger Games highlights the angst, cynicism and grit of what being a teenager is really like. And it points to the fact that adolescent solipsism, bullying and a universal lack of empathy have also become signatures among grown-ups now, too.
Actually, people buy the book because it's a cracking good read.

Incompetent but well rewarded

So Her Maj's bankers have been naughty boys.  The Independent reports:

Coutts, the bank famed for handling the finances of the Queen and around half the England football team, was fined £8.75m for "serious, systemic" money-laundering failures yesterday.
The Financial Services Authority said the bank, owned by the state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, was lax in checking whether funds paid in by foreign politicians came from legitimate sources.
The fine is Coutts' second dressing down by the City watchdog in a matter of months. In November, it was fined £6.3m for mis-selling savings products linked to the collapsed US insurer AIG. In that instance it also paid compensation to clients.
It would have been nice if heads had rolled.  But instead it is the poor bloody shareholders that will bear the cost.  And in this instance the vast majority of shareholders are the taxpayers.  Meanwhile the fatcat bankers continue to watch the bonuses roll in.

The beginning of the end

It happens to all governments.  Sooner or later, it's no more confident morning, letting the sunshine in:

The cash-for-access scandal engulfing David Cameron has inflicted deep damage on the Conservative Party's standing, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent.
The polling gives Labour a 10-point lead over the Tories, the highest in a ComRes survey for seven years. But, significantly, in interviews conducted since the affair emerged on Sunday, Labour was a remarkable 17 points ahead.In the 337 interviews conducted on Saturday, before the cash-for-access revelations, Labour enjoyed a lead of only four points. Labour was on 39 per cent, the Tories on 35 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent. But in the 350 interviews that took place on Sunday and yesterday, after the disclosures, Labour was 17 points ahead. Labour was on 47 per cent, the Tories on 30 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent.
Will the LibDems want to cling on to the coat-tails of a discredited, toxic Tory Party?

24 March 2012

Is it like socks?

No, I don't know what this is all about.  Maybe, my more discerning readers have a clue.  Anyway, The Independent has gone down in my estimation:
Exciting reports from Planet Madonna. For her latest single "Girl Gone Wild" (um, "Girl"?), the singer has a video featuring male dancers dressed in an item of clothing many women would counsel them against. They are men in tights. Also dubbed "brosiery" or "guylons", the Mantyhose is apparently the latest accessory for the man who has everything. Apart from self-consciousness or common sense. Cavallini, emporium of man tights, explains that Mantyhose were launched when it noticed that "tights in size medium-large were quite often being purchased by men". As a reluctant hosiery-wearer, one word of advice. Always go for extra large. Better to risk the Nora Batty effect than cut off your circulation. And good luck!


22 March 2012

Graph of the day


Look, it's just not good enough - we're falling behind in the wine consumption race.


 

Slasher Osborne, Sheriff of Nottingham

Oh dear, my financial position when I reach 65 (not long now) will be less favourable than it would have been.  The Independent reports:
The sting in the Budget's tail was for about 4.4 million of Britain's 10.5 million pensioners. Mr Osborne unexpectedly announced plans to freeze their age-related allowances to simplify the tax system and insisted there would be no cash losers.However, pensioners paying income tax will lose out because their allowances will not keep pace with inflation. Treasury officials confirmed that current pensioners would lose an average £63 a year and people who have not yet reached the age of 65 will lose £197 a year when they do. S
I would not mind so much if that £197 were being used for a good purpose.  But to see it wasted on giving the fatcats their extra thousands is intolerable. 

21 March 2012

There is still hope ,,,

... for the Labour Party.  From The New Statesman (here):

Miliband had facts:
What did the Chancellor say in August last year about America's more balanced deficit plan:
"Those who spent the whole of the past year telling us to follow the American example need to answer this simple question: why has the US economy grown more slowly than the UK economy?"
Mr Deputy Speaker, the numbers are in.
And the Chancellor is plain wrong.
The US economy grew at 1.7% last year, twice the rate of ours.
This Government have run out of excuses.
He had outrage:
Under his tax cut, a banker earning five million pounds will get an extra £240,000 a year.
Let's call this what it really is:
The Government's very own bankers' bonus. 
He had humour:
It is great to support the great British success stories like Downton Abbey.
A tale of a group of out of touch millionaires.
Who act like they're born to rule.
But turn out to be no good at it.
Sound familiar Mr Deputy Speaker?
We all know it's a costume drama.
They think it's a fly on the wall documentary.
 Good for Ed!

Turning the screw

If the principal justification for the introduction of local pay rates in the public sector concerns the proposition that the private sector in areas such as Wales and the North-East of England is unable to recruit suitable labour as it is creamed off by the public sector, there would seem to be a flaw in the argument.  To wit, by definition these are areas where (1) there are few private sector jobs and (2) there is a substantial pool of unemployed labour.  It is less than credible to suggest that reducing pay rates in the public sector will encourage the private sector to expand its operations, particularly as the economies of such areas would be adversely affected by the diminution of centrally sourced finance.

In essence, the government is proposing to attack the symptoms of economic decline rather than the cause.  Inevitably, it will not succeed in revitalising the private sector in such areas, as the government must be well aware.  For the sake of saving a few pennies of public expenditure, the areas concerned are to be condemned to ongoing economic decline, reinforcing the split between South-East England and the rest of the UK.

Does nobody do any thinking in Her Majesty's Treasury?

Putting the boot in

Poor old Mr Balls.  The Independent is less than impressed:

Mr Balls will eternally be associated with the perceived profligacy of his liege lord Gordon Brown, which many believe did much to create the monstrous deficit. Not being a fool, Mr Balls appreciates this. Hence his pre-Budget attempt to distance himself from Gordon at the weekend. Bless him for trying, but it's a futile quest. Ernie Wise resented being dismissed as Eric Morecambe's sidekick, and had the odd crack at a solo career, but what could he do? Some mental connections – Rolls-Royce, Huntley & Palmer, Ant 'n' Dec, Brady and Hindley – cannot be broken. Mr Balls is the poster boy for Brownite infantilising statism, and all his phoney disavowals of mainstream Keynsianism will no more persuade a soul otherwise than his slagging off his old guv'nor can remove the taint of his 15 years as Gordon's hatchet man/bitch.Second – and much like the newly retired Dame Edna Everage, I mean this in a caring way – he is viscerally repulsive. It has been said of others before, but to the question "why do people take an instant hatred to Ed Balls?", the answer is that it saves time. He can bang on about blubbing whenever some old biddy learns that the miniature Crimean War gun carriage she keeps the After Eights in is worth £17.50 on Antiques Roadshow, and paint idyllic portraits of home life with him in his pinny making scones while Yvette pores over her Foreign Affairs brief. No one is persuaded that he is anything but the serpentine smearer and cockily abrasive bully boy whose only use for the defibrillator paddles, were Milibandroid the Younger to keel over, would be to put them to his leader's temples and finish the job.

  

20 March 2012

The nasty party

To them that hath shall be given (in the form of a cut in the 50p tax rate).  From them that hath not shall be taken away (by freezing the national minimum wage for those under 21).

Are we still all in this together?

Oh, and they are not exactly reinforcing their green image.

A nasty party indeed.

19 March 2012

Eurovision

I refuse to allow it to sully the cultural tone of this blog, but if you really want to hear (and I strongly advise you against) the UK's entry, sung by some old guy (even older than I) you can access it here.

And no I have not and will not listen to it.

 

Quote of the day

The Telegraph analyses the lure of a box set:
“A box set, for a middle-class person, seems to offer a huge amount more personal – not monetary – value than you get from just watching episodes on television as and when they come on,” adds [Maddie] Yorke.  [Who she?  Dunno] “That maximises the sensation of being defined by, or gathering some sort of self-worth from, a television show that you love.”
A box set – the right box set – is more than a few hours’ entertainment. It is a symbol of our values, a totem of our class and, at best, a subtle form of one-upmanship.
Hey I admit it.  I'm an addict.  Off to Spain tomorrow with the final series of Spooks and the first series of Game of Thrones.  (Spiral 1, 2 and 3, doncha know, is so last year ...)

Oh Lord!

I won't sleep for worrying.  The Independent identifies a problem with gay and lesbian marriage:

The Coalition's plans for gay marriage provide a once-in-a-parliamentary-lifetime opportunity to remedy a situation that penalises a long-suppressed minority and fosters unacceptable gender inequality. I refer, of course, to the grossly unfair status of husbands of titled wives.

You see, the joining-together of two men or two women in matrimony leads to a number of tricky issues of law and etiquette. One of these relates to the partners of peers and knights. What, exactly, would be the correct status of the wife of a lesbian baroness? If Sir Elton John and Mr David Furnish were to marry, what would that make David?
At the moment, only women acquire their husband's status through marriage. If Miss Josephine Bloggs marries a king, she becomes Queen Josephine. If her husband becomes a knight, then she becomes a lady. But if Mr Joe Bloggs is joined in matrimony to a titled female, or his wife acquires an honour, he's still plain old Joe.
For all the obvious reasons, this is unlikely to be of personal interest.  But, for some people, these things actually matter ...

It will be a success this time?

So there's a wee surprise.  The Tories want to privatise the roads.  City AM reports:
ROAD PRICING and greater use of toll roads could become a reality as the government seeks to find ways to entice the private sector to invest more in infrastructure.
David Cameron will today launch a new study into the financing and ownership of Britain’s roads, arguing the country “urgently” needs “to repair the decades-long degradation of our national infrastructure”. He will call for privately built roads but insist there will be no tolls on existing roads.
The National Association of Pension Funds is already working with the government to find a suitable model to tempt its members to invest some of their £800bn of assets in infrastructure – the long-term nature of such investment could provide a steady income stream matching pension funds’ liabilities.
You might have thought that they would have learned a lesson from the railways or the energy industry.  Obviously not.  And it is unlikely to make motorists happy.

 

18 March 2012

Music of the week

Leonard, of course, turning tricks:

I've got the blues

Look, the Six Nations is mostly played in various parts of Northern Europe.  It rains sometimes.  If RBS wants to sponsor the Six Nations, well and good.  But please, please, please, if you must paint your logos on the pitch, invest in some waterproof paint, so that the players and their clothes avoid the appearance of having painted themselves in woad.

As others see us



Edinburgh is Europe's new capital of cool.  So suggests The Observer:
Heavily reliant on banking and public sector jobs, Edinburgh had seemed badly placed to withstand the recession, but while the economy teeters, the city is busily securing its place as Europe's capital of culture and is increasingly a magnet for tourists. Last week it was announced that the much-hyped new film from Disney-Pixar will have its European premiere at the usually lacklustre Edinburgh film festival. Brave will bring stars to the city and introduce a generation of children to the romance of Scotland, albeit with a Brigadoon-style approach to reality.
The past eight months have seen two major openings: the refurbished National Museum of Scotland, which won enthusiastic reviews, 1.5 million visits in its first six months and a shortlisting last week for the Art Fund Prize; and close on its heels, an impressively expanded Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The portrait gallery's senior photography curator, Duncan Forbes, said the city had been transforming itself. "It may be the independence debate but there's a real interest in our history, arts and culture at the moment. Galleries are free, which is key, and certainly the coming of the parliament impacted on confidence, but I think there's a new wave of thinking that's ahead of politics, a sign of cultural confidence."
Yeah well.  It will not remain the capital of cool unless they do something about all the roadworks which are imposing gridlock on city centre traffic.  And it's not just the trams; the end-year financial freedom means that roads are being dug up right, left and centre.

16 March 2012

The party of the rich

Why is Osborne so keen to gratify the fatcats?  OK, so the 50p tax rate brings in only hundreds of millions, rather than billions, but that is surely not to be sneezed at.  And it only applies to those earning more than £150,000 a year, and then only to the amount earned which exceeds £150,000.  Furthermore, if it is so easy for the fatcats to avoid, why bother removing it?  (Or better, tighten up the rules.)

It's all very well for the LibDems to argue that the government can take it off the rich in other ways, but why can we not retain the 50p rate, as well as eliminating their other shortcuts to paying fewer taxes?

What kind of message does it send to the poor OAPs, struggling to keep their houses warm, or the low-paid public sector workers, facing consistent reductions in living standards?

10 March 2012

Romney jokes

There are times when one almost feels sorry for the Republicans.  Then you remember that they are the baddies.

In any event, The Guardian is celebrating:
The race has produced no end of laughs, most recently multimillionaire Mitt Romney's attempts to come across as a regular Joe. The latest was his admission that, while not himself a fan of Nascar racing – a sport that plays big in the white, male, lower-income demographic – "I have some friends who are Nascar team owners". Earlier he had sought to ingratiate himself with a Detroit audience by boasting that, as a good patriot, he drove American cars and that his wife even drove "a couple of Cadillacs". Short of wearing an "I am the 1%" T-shirt, it's hard to know how he could have got it more wrong.
Still, the best Romney joke is not by him but about him, taking aim at the ideological contortions the limping frontrunner has performed in his bid to win the Republican nomination: "A conservative, a liberal and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, 'Hi, Mitt.'"

08 March 2012

Doggy business

Would you elect this man to be president?   From The New York Times:
The story took place in 1983, when the Romney family made a 12-hour pilgrimage from Boston to a vacation home in Canada. Romney, his wife, Ann, and five sons were in the station wagon. Seamus was in a crate, or kennel, on the roof.
At some point — possibly in response to the excitement about being passed by tractor-trailers while floating like a furry maraschino cherry on top of the car, Seamus developed diarrhea. And Romney, who had designated all the acceptable rest stops before beginning the trip, was forced to make an unscheduled trip to a gas station. Where he kept the family in the car while he hosed down the station wagon and the dog, then returned to the highway. 
It's the designation of acceptable stops before departure which is chilling, though putting the mutt on the roof of the car is also worrying.

07 March 2012

It's tough at the top

My heart bleeds.  Bloomsberg reports:
The 20 richest people on Earth lost a combined $11.3 billion yesterday as global markets fell after European economic growth slowed and investors weighed Greece’s chances of getting bondholders to accept a debt swap. 
Unless you are Michele Ferrero (he of the chocolates):
... whose $22.5 billion fortune makes him the world’s 18th-richest person. Ferrero owns the world’s fourth-largest chocolate maker, Ferrero SpA (FERR). The company’s products include Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates and Nutella. His net worth is up 6.6 percent this year.
Not a lot of people know that.

Quote of the day

I say!  This is definitely not the sort of thing one expects to read in The Telegraph (here):
I have no problem whatsoever with Cameron's £4 million plus property portfolio, nor to Gideon "Despicable" Osborne's vast wallpaper inheritance, nor yet to Nick Clegg's estimated £1.9 million net worth; still less do [I] have any issue with the fact that they were all superbly educated at Eton, St Paul's and Westminster. But what I do seriously object to is the effect this cushion of comfort has on their policy-making. As [Nadine] Dorries correctly observes – and no matter how many ludicrous photo shoots Cameron arranges in order to be caught shopping at the fish counter of his local supermarket for sea bass, just like all the ordinary folk do – Cameron and Osborne (and, though she didn't mention him, Clegg) simply have no idea how badly this recession is treating those struggling middle class families who constitute their core vote.
Dorries is also right about this: they really do not care.
As far as Cameron is concerned, the only problem with his wealth and entitlement has to do with negative image. That's why he did his best to bury Horsegate, why he persists in being so embarrassed by that Bullingdon photograph and why he has been so slow in defusing Gordon Brown's time bomb, the 50p upper band tax rate. For Cameron (as you'd expect from a PR man) it's all about surface, about perception, not about doing the right thing. He could easily, very early on, have made the simple case that needlessly high tax rates cause revenues to fall not rise and that they jeopardise economic growth and deter mobile entrepreneurs from setting up shop in Britain. But he didn't because he couldn't bear the idea of the Conservatives being tarred as the party of the superrich.
But the Conservatives ARE the party of the super-rich. Not because David Cameron went to Eton or has an incredibly rich father-in-law or because Osborne goes on yachting-n-birch-twig-flagellation cruises with Russian oligarchs, but because this is the effect their policies are having.

Ooh-err ...

  

In Vince's house, there are many mansions

So Saint Vince is prepared to sacrifice the 50p tax rate for a mansion tax.  The mansion tax would be directed at those with houses with a value of over £2 million and, as houses cannot be hidden in offshore accounts, the tax should be relatively easy to collect.

Well yes and no.  The mansion tax would first of all require a database of all houses worth over £2 million.  The Inland Revenue do not have such a database; nor do local authorities.  It would therefore have to be compiled from scratch, a fairly mammoth task which would require the commissioning of a multitude of surveyors and valuers.  It would also be necessary to identify the owners of the houses concerned, and of course to enable them to appeal the valuations where appropriate.  All this would require primary (and probably secondary) legislation.  So it would take at least a couple of years to implement.

I'm not saying that this should not be done, only questioning whether Vince and his ilk have thought it through.  By comparison, the abolition of the 50p tax rate is utterly straightforward.

  

The dangers of statistical correlation

The reduction in premature births is very welcome but the attribution of cause is a bit iffy.  The BBC website reports:
Scotland was the first country in the UK to ban smoking in public places, followed by Wales, Northern Ireland and England in 2007.
After the legislation was introduced in Scotland, fewer mothers-to-be smoked - 19% compared with 25% before.
At the same time there was a significant drop in the number of babies born prematurely or with low birthweight.
The investigators believe both are linked to the smoking ban, even though these rates started to go down some months before the ban was introduced and smoking incidence started to creep up again shortly after the ban. 
The facts that premature birth rates started to go down before the ban and that smoking crept up after the ban cast doubt on the link to the smoking ban.  As does this additional finding:
... the reduction in premature births was both in non-smokers and women who continued to smoke when pregnant, which they say suggests passive smoke exposure is likely involved.
Is passive smoke exposure involved?  Evidence?

Or are the researchers so determined to link the health improvement to the ban that their own evidence to the contrary is simply dismissed?  More research needed, I suggest.


And, yes, as a smoker, I'm biased.  But non-smokers may also be biased.


06 March 2012

That's torn it

The ink is barely dry on the Eurozone's fiscal compact, designed to impose budgetary discipline on the unruly Mediterranean mob.  But, already, the peasants are revolting.  The Telegraph reports:
The Spanish rebellion has begun, sooner and more dramatically than I expected.
As many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).
Taking what he called a "sovereign decision", he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011).
If the fiscal compact is a dead letter, whereto now for the austerity advocates?

05 March 2012

Our panglossian First Minister

Perhaps the First Minister is being slightly ambitious in his quest.  According to The Guardian, Mr Salmond stated:
"I think it is important when we come to the referendum in 2014 people will have an exact proposition on independence, which I pledge to give. All of the questions [will be] answered to people's satisfaction.
Aye well, that would indeed be nice.  But, instead, we will be asked to vote on independence without knowing the full terms and conditions which will apply.  We may know what Mr Salmond's starting position on the negotiations would be, for example on the repartition of the UK's national debt but we will not know the outcome of those negotiations.  Similarly, Mr Salmond may assert that, as a successor state to the UK, Scotland would retain its EU membership.  But that is far from guaranteed, so there will remain uncertainties, not least because, successor state or not, a new EU Treaty would be required, demanding the unanimous agreement of all the other member states.

That is not an argument against having a referendum on independence, merely an acknowledgement that not all of the relevant questions will have been answered.

03 March 2012

Horsegate continued

The media continues to have fun, now that Cameron has admitted riding Raisa.  The Telegraph pictures the scene:
One perception ratified here is that of the Chipping Norton set comprising the smuggest elite corps of jeunesse dorĂ©e available at the time to humanity. It is all too easy to imagine them revelling in their own resplendence in the Brooks kitchen one Christmas evening. Picture this everyday story of country folk as the then Leader of the Opposition chops the onions, and Rebekah warms her buns against the top oven of the Aga. Matthew Freud and Elisabeth Murdoch are spreading the beluga they brought in lieu of a bottle of merlot over the Ritz crackers, while Jeremy Clarkson jingles his jester’s bell with some side-splitters about why Mr Cameron should nuke Belgium and reintroduce child slavery on his first day in No 10. SamCam presents a personalised Smythson black leather-bound diary to James Murdoch, whom Jeremy hilariously berates as “a great big poof” for driving a Prius, and the chatter turns to matters equestrian. “David, why won’t you ever join me on a hack?” Rebekah coquettishly asks. “I’d love to,” he replies, “but I’m hopeless and petrified of being thrown.” “Well, I’m sure I heard someone talking about retired horses at the Sun Police Bravery Awards,” says Rebekah. “One of those would be perfect. I’ll get my PA to ring John Yates. Yatesy’ll sort it. It’s not as if he has anything else on his plate.” How they all chuckle at that. 
 How like our own Christmas experiences (or not).

   

02 March 2012

Music of the week

Dave, Raisa and Rebekah


I'm so glad that this has been cleared up.  The Independent reports:
Prime Minister David Cameron today denied that he had ever ridden the horse which was lent by police to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.
So no closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. 


Actually, The Guardian has a quote from No 10:
"The prime minister does not wear pyjamas on the back of a horse"
Good to know.