To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.about me
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All Ready for Breakfast Dim Sum at Maxim's in Central tomorrow followed by visit to the Cenotaph to remember the War dead. (even organised a poppy !!) Last year I totally confused an American colleague who had served in USAAF at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska by referring to 11 November, which he knew as as Veteran's Day, variously as Rememberance Day, Armistice Day and Poppy day (well he asked me why I was wearing a poppy and I didn't realise that it was the same as Veterans Day)
Trouble with the US election was that it clashed with this year's Melbourne Cup . Mind you, a day earlier, it would have clashed with Guy Faulkes Night so we were spared (I like to think) scenes of chaps in white robes with pointy hats and flaming crosses toasting their marsh mellows under a burning effigy of the president or down in the hood, the bro's having some ribs by the giant glove puppet atop of a pile of burning tyres . Yoh mah man !!
As it was I caught the moment IOWA was called (I distinctly heard ... Cooee.... IOWA!!! ..your turkey's cooked) . On the other hand I missed the race and the spectacle (nice piece of balanced investigative journalism by the Daily Mail !) I didn't even get a bet down unlike the alleged Irishman who dropped EUR 300K at 7-2 On Mitt the Mormon . What a shmuck!! (The punter - interestingly can't find any corroberation for Jeff Randals story on the web)
Trumped at the polls?. Was he pissed or was he pissed !! Tried to drum up a flash crowd to protest at the results. He recently offered $5 million to a charity of Obama's choice in exchange for the release of college records and passport application. The News Pauper (an upstanding organ of the British Press ) has uncovered the president'sbirth certificate and will be claiming the 5Mill Last week they also broke the store of how Mr Fox (of Islington) aided the badgers campaign which resultedin their reprieve. (It was very moving story ). Apparently Mr Fox has offered to provide consultancy to the Republican Party for the 2016 campaign .He is confident he can bring in votes from various animal constituencies other than the elephants including converting some asses from the dark side.
GOP revisited And now for something entirely serious. Whilst many consider that radical US Republicans have more in common with Jihadists than rabbid dogs, it is worth bearing in mind that since the Middle Ages European churches and states collected both tithes and alms to fund themselves and for charitable works amongst poor. Similarly European Merchant and Craft Guilds looked after you - as a member of he guild - if you were sick. It would help the families of dead guild members. In fact the Barker's Arms a district in London's East End is named after a public house which was situated next to Alms Houses run by Bakers Guild and down the road where my mother lives there are Alms Houses for the Milliner's Guild. This predisposes Europeans to the model of the welfare state and the safety nets developed since WWII eg the NHS, Social Security Benefits and the like,
This is totally different from the experience of early Americans who turned their back on Europe its governments and churches, who trekked like Boers across the country (now there's a comparison worth exploring!!), who fought a war to throw of the yoke of the Crown and its Taxation and a Civil War against the Federal Government. The inheritors of their vision hold a truely different perspective on trhe role of central government to those in Europe (with possible exception of the Scottish Nationalist Party). We are seperated by more than language and the Atlantic (or in the case of the scots just by language)
A fiercely Republican colleague (a Canadian with an apparent identity issue), despondant at Obahma's win this week shared with me the following. Although not a Republican (far from it!!) it nevertheless gave me food for throught
Alexis de Tocqueville ....was sent by the French government to report on the American Penitentiary system in the 1830s. He used the visit to examine the experiment in
democracy underway after the American Revolution and made a series of observations that were interestingly perceptive. (Some paraphrasing;)
(Finally in his own words): "A democracy can... only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits... with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy... followed by dictatorship"