12 December 2021: Xmas characters; Jabs for kids; BoJo mayhem in the UK; French posturing; Bloody Lego; & Other stuff.

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Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Spain’s Xmas ‘characters’.

Covid-19 vaccines for children in Spain: How the process will work, region by region.

The key question in the London law suit against the disgraced ex-king of Spain.

The UK 

Things are so bad that satire, says the author of this fine article, has given up on politics. Best line: In Western democracies there is a general sense that politicians are hamstrung and hopeless while tech companies are busy changing the way we communicate, think and act. 

A nice commentary on the country under Boris Johnson can be seen below. The headline: Britain’s like one of Johnson’s broken wives — cheated on, then fed a string of lies and excuses.

At the prosaic level, here in South Manchester/North Cheshire, it’s been below zero during the last 2 weeks but today it’s positively balmy, at 6 degrees. Which probably explains why, at 8am, I passed a young guy walking along the pavement in a T-shirt and shorts.

My young grandson is big on Lego. Having tried to make a thing or two with him, I decided last week to buy him 2 towers of 3 boxes each, for pieces of the same colour – so that that searching for relevant pieces would be a lot less time-consuming than having to trawl through a massive pile. I really should have realised it’d be a waste of money . . .

In the face of my advice, my daughter has put spent quite some time putting the pieces back in 5 of the 6 boxes:-

She insisted that she finds this therapeutic. I replied that this must say a lot about her life with kids aged 6, 4 and 1. At least one of whom is autistic . . . Mothers might well be more empathetic . . .


The traditional French approach . . . A fishing deal has finally been struck between the UK and France, thanks to EU help. Officials of the latter are reported, in the UK at least, to have said that they’d hoped for an earlier deal but French posturing had made this difficult. If you’ve ever had business with the French, this won’t come as any surprise. It’s not just a reflection of the French presidential electoral cycle, more the the nature of the beast.

The USA 

In that weird and wonderful country . . .The select committee investigating the January 6 riot has become a theatre of the absurd.  . . . Trump’s playbook – deny, stonewall, bluster and sue – is being eagerly followed by his team. And why not? It worked before. 

Even though he’s not a member of Congress, Trump is said to be toying with the far-fetched idea of becoming Speaker of the House, if the Republicans win the mid-term elections next year, and then standing down after a few months of mayhem and launching his re-election bid. YCMIU

Quote of the Day 

Richard North: To prolong his active life, Boris Johnson may be hoping that the Russians make a move against Ukraine over Christmas – the ultimate “dead cat” which could divert attention from his troubles and focus minds on more serious issues. Ironically, for a fundamentally unserious man, Johnson’s immediate fate could lie in the hands of a very serious man – Vladimir Putin.

Finally  . . . 

UK TV advertising slogans:-

1. No other leading brand offers you more. Translation: Some non-leading brands offer you more than we do. 

2. This Christmas, get together with confidence. No, not an ad for anti-Covid protection but for . . . .  Viagra.

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Britain’s like one of Johnson’s broken wives — cheated on, then fed a string of lies and excuses: Camilla Long, The Times

Don’t say you didn’t see it coming: the sloppiness, the mayhem, the lies. One look inside the prime minister’s prophetic Toyota Previa and you could see messy bags, dirty clothes, lost shoes, cheap, worn rubbish. It was the most un-Conservative vehicle I have ever seen.

And, well, isn’t Boris turning out to be just about the most un-Conservative politician we have ever had? He is so un-Conservative it is staggering — no boundaries, no structure, no respect. Scan every story that emerged last week and you’d imagine the country was being run by someone who was 1,000 per cent liberal, like Alec Baldwin.

The animals flown out of Afghanistan instead of people; the gold wallpaper and other offensive tat bought by donors from the posh interiors firm Soane — the “l” is silent — for the prime minister’s flat. How un-Conservative is borrowing money? And then saying you can’t remember you did it? Isn’t lying about loans something Labour is supposed to do?

And then the parties. oh God, the parties: we’re told the Tories probably had two in November, during lockdown, and two more in December, when people were still being told they might not be able to see their dying parents at Christmas. Carrie Johnson is said to be “addicted to parties” — sorry, “large gatherings” — but, well, credit where credit’s due. At least that does sound vaguely Tory.

Johnson himself, of course, is not interested in parties. So uninterested, in fact, that if someone tells him they haven’t happened, he immediately believes them: he has never heard of — how you call them? — “lies”. At prime minister’s questions on Wednesday he said he had been “assured” once more that “no rules had been broken”, even though footage had just emerged of one of his staff, Allegra Stratton, laughing knowingly at the suggestion that they had.

Even this did not stop Johnson denying it: his press secretary could in no way have organised a huge staff party a week before Christmas; nor had the staff invited been WhatsApping about it for weeks in advance. There hadn’t been “wine and cheese” or a Secret Santa or a festive “awards ceremony” — apparently the press office gives itself awards every week. For what, though? Persuading Carrie to bring her C-section forwards?

Nor had Johnson himself given a speech at another party when his adviser Lee Cain resigned in November. There hadn’t been a “victory party” on the same night, after Dominic Cummings was also ousted, because a vulgar “boisterous celebration” is in no way how people in this terminally lightweight, petty, ridiculous, nibbles-obsessed government of gimps and kakistocrats behave.

It seems extraordinary to me that Johnson thinks anyone will believe he was sitting in his office while these events weren’t going on. “Stupidity” — is that really his defence? He is the leader of the party of poking your nose into other people’s business. How can any Tory politician have so little curiosity about what’s going on next door?

Conservatives don’t want this: they don’t want someone who can’t say no to anyone, who cannot face the music, who has no ability or even awareness of wrongdoing, let alone the desire to put it right. You can’t come in as champion of the people — a populist hero — only to reveal you are champion of one person only. This Boris fundamentally isn’t the Boris they elected.

Tory voters crave reliability, efficiency, pragmatism; no one wants to feel permanently cheated on, never mind their political stripe. And yet that is where the country is now: in a toxic marriage, just listening to the excuses. We are all one of his broken wives.

Johnson does have one Tory instinct, obviously: let the woman take the flak. He has a seemingly unlimited supply of mooney fans who are prepared to throw themselves under the Boris bus at all times.

What, for example, was Stratton thinking when she gave that weeping statement to the press? She looked like Duckface minutes after her wedding make-up has been hosed off. It summed up everything about this government: the chaos, the emotional incontinence, the lack of professionalism, the readiness to resort to a crisis puffa. It is so Sloaney to cry in public.

And what for? Because she had been filmed slightly sniggering when a colleague mentioned a party that she didn’t attend and Johnson had said never happened anyway, while preparing for a job that never came to be in a £2.6 million studio that might as well not have been built? Johnson claims he was “furious” when he saw the video, but why, if the party didn’t happen? In the same way as I don’t associate him with the words “engaged” and “contrite” and “listening”, I simply cannot imagine him being “furious” about anything, let alone totty collateral like Allegra. Still, if you wanted to sum up this government’s attitude to women, it is: sacked for laughing.