A (politically correct) state of affairs

Government, politics, wars and spying are subjects in which evasion and deceit are  common and vulgar; hypocrisy is paramount and prudery prominent. The survival of politicians in politics in a democracy or for that matter in a despotism, depends on getting control over your compatriots, and retaining it by convincing them of your admirable fitness for rule. (more…)

By | 2012-11-28T11:52:55+00:00 November 28th, 2012|English Language, Humour, Philosophy, Today, World History|0 Comments


This broadcasting company has radio and TV channels and  business channels run by experts. Beyond doubt this communications group helped Spanish people make up their minds about the nearly eight years of Zapatero’s disastrous administration, which was democratically ended a year ago next Sunday. It is now Thursday. On November 20th, 2011 the General Election results silenced the PSOE and awarded the PP an absolute majority which they seem loath to use. This is all fine and historical but what about Intereconomía?

     The station is a part of the daily newspaper La Gaceta, a journal still not mentioned by state-owned television among their ‘distinguished’ list, which includes the Marxist/Socialist organ of the PSOE El País; the heavily right-wing mouthpiece of its chief editor Ramírez – El Mundo; the official spokesmen of the centre-right ABC: a few regional newspapers blindly not including El Día (Canary Islands), and that odd mixture of cultures and opinions La Vanguardia. (more…)

By | 2012-11-22T11:47:44+00:00 November 22nd, 2012|English Language, Humour, Philosophy, Spanish History, Today|0 Comments

Another modest proposal: Gibraltar

Gibraltar: contentious since 1704

Gibraltar: contentious since 1704

The spiky old issue of Gibraltar is digging Spanish and British statesmen in the most tender part of their well-fed anatomies – what to do with Gibraltar? Ever since the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 (very nearly three hundred years ago), the two puissant old ladies have been scratching at each other’s eyes because of Gibraltar. (more…)

Humour on Friday: what British public schoolboys think (and say) about each other


The public (i.e. private) schools of Great Britain are not so full of toffs these days. Britain’s democracy since the two world wars has led to a caste system that is never mentioned, but still exists. The great, historic, expensive public schools used to be represented at an archaic tribal gathering called ‘The Headmasters’ Conference’. Grave middle-aged gentlemen, some with a paunch, would debate grave issues such as school meals, the uselessness of the Classics , the need for more mathematics, how finance could be raised to build a bigger gym and the terrible cost of school blazers at Gorringes. (more…)

Humour: tall tales


Madame Charles de Gaulle

Paul Johnson tells us that when General de Gaulle at last decided to retire to his small chateau at Colombey-les-deux-Églises, he and his wife threw a small party to celebrate. Several distinguished journalists were invited, among them a few English reporters. During the conversation, an English lady reporter asked the General’s lady what she most looked forward to now that the general and ex-president of France had retired. “A penis,” said Madame. Silence fell around the table. The general leaned forward tutting. “Your pronunciation, cherie,” he said, not without benevolence; “I sink you mean ‘appiness, no?” (more…)

Arturo eyes Andalucía

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is one of the very best writers of modern Castilian prose, but then he is also more than capable of writing in the purest seventeenth century Castilian prose, as can easily be seen (by Spanish readers) in his series of Alatriste action novels.

   For several years he has presented his own acerbic column Patente de Corso in XL Semanal, which as the title tells us is a weekly magazine. In February of this year P-R wrote a singularly funny, at the same time accurate and thoughtful personal view of ‘eccentric’ happenings in the Autonomous Community of Andalucía. It is so good I think readers in English should get a chance to read it too. I have had the impertinence to translate Arturian Spanish into Deanery English:’ (more…)

By | 2012-09-21T10:41:11+00:00 September 21st, 2012|English Language, Humour, Spanish History, Today|0 Comments

Would you believe it? The ‘Know-Nothings’

We already know the origins of the rising US political party calling themselves ‘The Tea Party’. Tea-loaded ships sailing from Britain in 1773 threatened other tea importers with their monopolies. The American Sons of Liberty, mostly raw young sons of important Boston traders, rowed or swam out to the tea ships, boarded them by main force, and threw all the tea casks overboard. So there! The waters of Boston harbour were stained tea colour for weeks. (more…)

By | 2012-09-07T10:50:01+00:00 September 7th, 2012|British History, Humour, US History|0 Comments

Let us above be politically correct . . .

Some years ago one of those correct persons who infest modern life pointed out to a bottling company that the label on one of their jams was politically incorrect. The label included an illustration of a ‘dark-skinned’ puppet popular for more than a century called a ‘Gollywog’. The lobbies moved in, the righteous demonstrated, normally sleepy MPs awoke to the horror of it all and made clanging speeches. The Robertson Company had to remove the offensive Gollywog from labels and advertising. Political correctitude had won again. (more…)

Prohibition: a dry America

In every Western you have ever seen a Hollywood cowboy, spurs jangling, goes to the saloon and slaps some cash on the huge counter, saying nothing. The barman picks up the nearest bottle and pours a healthy slug of some kind of whisky. No-one says anything. Cowboy knocks the contents of the glass back in one gulp, wipes his mouth with his sleeve, and leaves. Sometimes he just leaves. Other times he pauses to shoot dead three or four villains down from their rickety tables, all trying to draw their six-shooters. (more…)

By | 2012-08-14T11:56:17+00:00 August 14th, 2012|Humour, US History, World History|0 Comments
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