Trumplestiltskin wakes at G7, badger culling, Malcolm Tucker lives, the Apple card and a good day

1 September 2019

Once upon a G7 meeting, Trumplestiltskin woke suddenly and said “I say chaps, I’ve had this absolutely brilliant idea – why don’t we drop hydrogen bombs on hurricanes and stop them in their tracks?”

Having been asleep for 60 years, he didn’t realise that the same question had been raised surprisingly regularly since the 1950s and had been just as regularly trashed.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration response to Trumplestiltskin was simply: “Needless to say, this is not a good idea.”  (I love the “needless to say”.)

Last week, I wrote about one police officer’s attitude to badger culling.  In fact, the efficacy of badger culling had already been scientifically reviewed by a team led by the government’s adviser, Prof Lord John Krebs, and they concluded that the cull was not effective in controlling bovine TB, but the government has since said that the cull has reduced the incidence of TB in cattle.  Once again, we have to choose between the evidentially-based conclusions of a scientist with decades of experience and career politicians who disapprove of “experts”, particularly when they don’t share their hang-ups.  Tough one that.

It’s bit like having to believe that Boris Johnson is not closing down parliament so he can force a no-deal Brexit but because he wants to announce new domestic policies and more money for eucation and the NHS and reducing taxes for people who have too much money already, to be funded by …  er … good heavens, is that the time?  I must get on …

Actually, didn’t he promise more funding for the NHS once before?

Since he announced he would suspend parliament (you probably did but I didn’t even know the ‘prorogue’ word last year), a petition asking him not to has been signed by nearly 1.7 million people (as I write), which is roughly 10,000 times as many people as made him prime minister, and there have been a lot of demonstrations against him.

(What a good job he’s got Dominic Cummings, who is rapidly morphing into Malcolm Tucker – language and all – and, without first telling Sajid Javid, marched Sonia Khan, Javid’s media adviser, out of number 10 under armed guard.  There now followeth an appeal to an employment tribunal, an action against the 10 Downing Street for public humiliation and an action against the police for assault.)

Johnson has also bumbled on about a ‘people versus parliament’ vote, which has me totally baffled.  Parliament is people, elected by people, so would the people vote against the people, or just some people, or next door’s dog, or what?  (Remind me sometime to tell you the joke about the dog next door barking in the middle of the night.)

Still, anything to take our eyes off Prince Andrew’s alleged misdemeanours (how could he possibly be expected to have known that his old friend had been in prison for paedophilia?).

Donald Trump’s natural self-effacing charm seems to be fading now that even Fox News seems to be moving itself away from its reputation for partial reporting and fawning sycophancy.  And Deutsche Bank has admitted in court documents that they have at least some of the tax returns which the House of Representatives has subpoenaed.

Trump is naturally suing Deutsche Bank to prevent them handing the documents over.  My flabber would be less than ghasted if it transpired that his tax returns show that his businesses lost a lot of money in recent years and he just doesn’t want anybody to know how incompetent a businessman he is.

Talking of incompetence, Apple recently launched its new credit card in America.  The Apple Card is a minimalist status symbol for people who don’t qualify for Amex Centurion cards but it’s Very Sensitive and putting it in your wallet, or next to another credit card, or in your pocket, or an omelette, or leaving fingerprints on it, or using it to slip a doorlock can damage it.  A lot of tweets have already taken the mickey out of Apple’s announcement but it does seem safer to wrap it in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge, just out the cat’s reach.

The ‘and finally’ bit of good news this week is that I got this year’s swim in at Budleigh Salterton on Monday.  A sunny bank holiday Monday.  10 minutes finding a place to park, 15 minutes queuing to buy a parking ticket only to discover the machine wasn’t accepting cash so, not having any cards with me, I left the queue and headed straight for the sea.

It was glorious just floating around, though it took an underwater swim to remind me I was still wearing my glasses, which came off as I surfaced.  I was luckily able to catch them as they drifted down because I’d otherwise have had to dive 10-12 feet to the bottom to fetch them.  And there was no parking ticket on the windscreen when I got back to the car.  A good day.

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