Thursday, 5 December 2013

Merry Christmas

"Merry Christmas! Out upon Merry Christmas! What's Christmas Time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months, presented dead against you? If I could work my will," said Scrooge, indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Alex Salmond

This Scottish Nationalist chappie Alex Salmond gives me the pip. He wants a divorce but expects to keep all the future income from an enterprise - North Sea oil - which was a joint venture funded by the UK as a whole. Meanwhile, he expects to have access to The UK's financial reserves and expertise in currency management through retaining Sterling. Presumably he would be content to take some of the structural deficit and National Debt as well. He hopes to retain the (arguable) benefits of a nuclear deterrent but without the inconvenience of it. He expects to retain membership of the EU by virtue of the UK's membership, ignoring the possibility that the UK intends to renegotiate the terms of membership and perhaps withdraw. Meanwhile he forgets that the legality is that if Scotland were truly independent it would have to apply to join the EU as such and gain the agreement of all the EU member states to Scotland's accession, which would be conditional on an undertaking to adopt the Euro as its currency. And he expects people in Scotland to vote for Independence based only on these and other hopes and intentions, none of which will have been agreed upon with the UK at the time of the referendum.
He's a plonker driven by some outmoded notion of nationalism which is totally irrelevant in today's pluralist society which is governed essentially by a globalised neo-liberalist capitalist economic system transcending such anachronistic and sentimental concepts of nation-state boundaries. Salmond, and other nationalists of whatever ilk, should take George Orwell's advice# and separate his emotional questions of identity from his mental processes and allow them to sit side by side with reality.
# Notes on Nationalism, 1945.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Η Κτηματολόγιο

Xorg Inter-Galactic are pleased to announce the inaugural presentation of the Most Useless Land Registry In The World Award. Step forward the Cyprus Department of Lands and Surveys! Regular readers will be aware of our ongoing struggle to get our overseas estate properly registered with the authorities here. A long story, but suffice it to say that it has been labyrinthine if not Kafkaesque. (Kafka would not have held out the tantalising prospect that there might be a conclusion). We have been back and forth, paid fees, been back and forth again and even done some photocopying for them, but still the Land Registry have not managed to sign off the title deeds. El Presidente was promised on her last visit that the documents would be ready for her next visit but, no, nada, not ready yet. This time around we helped them out by going into the office and actually moving the file from one room to another in order to get some stuff signed. Sadly, that is where it has remained and we are promised for the fourth time that the deeds will be ready for our next visit. Meanwhile, despite the property not being registered we have had to pay the Property Tax...

Economic Intervention

We continue to do our bit to inject some life into the Cyprus economy, providing further employment to our good friend Mixalaki the plumber. The auxiliary water tank which was installed some years ago when Cyprus was in the grip of a drought developed a leak because of a faulty valve. Mixalaki duly fixed the valve but on consideration, and taking account of the fact that the water in the auxiliary tank tended to get a bit pongy as it wasn't being used, it was decided to isolate it altogether. This meant having to empty it of 30 metric tonnes of water and at this point we discovered that the drains were blocked again, so Mixalaki had to sort that out first. Any road up it all got done eventually and we now have an empty isolated tank sitting there. Mixalaki advises that when he finds a use for it, he'll take it away but there being little building work going on this might not happen just yet. Any road up, our next visit will involve a considerable amount of reinstatement investment. (Picture shows Mixalaki engaged in negotiations with EL Presidente, whilst Old Foghorn from downstairs faffs about).