Worldly Mayhem and Financial Chicanery

I haven’t ranted for a day or three I’m afraid, mainly because I have been shaking my head in bemusement at the antics of the world around me. Has the human race lost it’s marbles altogether I wonder? London and other major cities around the world are closed down by a bunch of ‘protesters,’ all of whom carry mobile phones and few of whom will ever abandon their laptops, Xboxes (whatever they may be) or any other accoutrements of the modern world. Nor I suspect did any of them walk from their homes to the place where they are demonstrating against the ‘carbon footprint’ left by humanity.

One of the newspapers published a photograph yesterday of the litter left for other people to clear up by a small group of these anarchists – which is what they are – and it was horrific to behold.

Yet what are the police doing about it? Very little I’m afraid. Oh they proudly tell us that they have made eleven hundred and something arrests, but will the Courts hammer these people with imprisonment, heavy fines or lengthy periods of community work? I very much doubt it. ‘Slap on the wrist’ justice will be in action again.

As the former Speaker, Betty Boothroyd – now Baroness of something or the other – said this week, ‘I used to demonstrate with the best of them but in those days the police controlled the demonstrations. Nowadays, the demonstrators seem to be controlling the police.’

She hit the nail on the head I’m afraid. Her remarks came after officers had reportedly asked meat traders not to beep their horns when arriving at the  eight hundred yearold Smithfield market in the early hours of Tuesday morning so as not to wake the sleeping demonstrators inside.

All I can say as a former copper is that it has all descended below the description of pathetic.

On the radio yesterday I listened to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond. He was talking about the way forward for Brexit and claimed that ‘a large percentage of the country voted leave, an almost equally large percentage voted remain but even those who voted to leave don’t want to leave without the deal they were promised.’

I am sure the man believed what he was saying – senior politicians surely would not lie! – but he was wrong. I ticked the leave box on the referendum ballot paper and there was no mention of a deal. There were but two boxes – one for leave and one for remain.

Is this not typical of the modern politician. This man spent a number of years in charge of Britain’s finances, but he cheerfully twists the facts so that he can remain in the limelight that he so obviously misses.

I read a piece yesterday about two young people with much the same aim in life but totally contrasting public images.

On the one hand is Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year old Swedish environmental activist who shares her anger, frustration and anxiety about the climate with the world. She is neither a scientist nor an economist. She offers no practical solutions to the economic devastation her ideas would cause. Admirable passion I suppose but her ideas if she has any are wrong. Yet she has become a major media star and is tipped for a Nobel peace prize.

On the other hand is Boyan Slat, a twenty-three year old inventor who designed the world’s first ocean plastic clean up system at the age of sixteen. He now leads a group developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. His solution involves no economic destruction and again, I admire his passion but unlike Miss Thunberg, the Media are not interested in him and he continues his work almost totally unrecognised..

Does this not epitomise the imbecility of our times? Miss Thunberg is idolised and feted by bemused world leaders for her empty words while Slat is unrecognised for his actions to really save the planet.

I don’t normally use jokes in my rants – probably because the times we live in are hardly jokeable about, but I was sent one that has a certain amount of cynical truth behind it, even if it is there to make people laugh. As everybody doubtless knows, my country, Zimbabwe is in a state yet again of economic chaos and the joke was entitled, The Current Banking Crisis Explained by a Zimbabwean.

The story goes like this:

Young Tendai bought a donkey from a farmer for one hundred Zimbabwe dollars. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the following day, but he drove up at the appointed time and said,

‘Sorry Son but I have some bad news. Your donkey died last night.’

‘Well give me my money back,’ Tendai retorted but the farmer shook his head.

‘Can’t do that I’m afraid. I have already spent it.’

Having thought for a moment, Tendai came up with an idea.

‘Okay then, just bring me the dead donkey.’

The farmer looked a bit bewildered.

‘What on earth are you going to do with a dead donkey?’

‘I am going to raffle him off.’

The farmer said, ‘You can’t raffle a dead donkey!’

‘Sure I can,’ said Tendai. ’I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.’

A month later, the farmer met up with Tendai and asked, ‘What happened with that dead donkey?’

Tendai said, ‘I stuffed him with straw and raffled him off. I sold five hundred tickets at two dollars each each and made an overall  profit of  eight hundred and ninety eight dollars.’

‘Didn’t anyone complain?’ Asked the farmer.

 ‘Only the guy who won, so I gave him his two dollars back.’

Tendai now works for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

As I said, it was meant as a joke but to my cynical mind, it is sadly redolent of the times we live in and it doesn’t only apply to Zimbabwe.

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