Bugger

I wanted the other M, Melenchon. For this way it’ll be a breeze for Macron. 80% majority sorta stuff.

Bloody Frogs, never do the right thing, do they?

Not quite le mot juste here

Four days before the first round of the French presidential election, Europe is terrified by the prospect of a runoff between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Whoever wins, we are told, the wheat will grow thin, nuclear winter will fall over the continent, and frogs will rain down from the sky.

It’s the Frogs who are voting…..

Isn’t this just absolutely gorgeous?

The New York Times can be spectacularly stupid (via Guido):

“He could not tell his readers exactly what Mr. Macron said, however, because, as he boasted in the article, he does not really speak French, although he studied it in school. But why should he make an effort, seemed to be the idea, when it is so easy to ridicule the French for being French, and when to be English is to feel superior to your neighbors?…

“Mr. Kidd’s hauteur isn’t surprising, given that Mr. Murdoch’s papers and the rest of the country’s right-leaning news media have spent decades nurturing an ancient anti-Europe narrative long reflected in the Conservative Party’s Euroskeptic wing. If London, or at least much of London, has welcomed or tolerated all the changes, many people around Britain, particularly from older generations, have lamented that they no longer recognize the country of their childhoods.”

Patrick Kidd is no the political columnist, he’s the sketch writer:

My masters at school, I will be honest, had not properly prepared me for the task of following an hour-long speech in rapid French. Mr Macron did not ask for directions to la gare once, for example.

Nor did he invite anyone in the audience to come to une boum chez lui ce week-end. He didn’t even say “zut” or “bof”. One wondered if he was French at all.

Ten years ago he married his French teacher, who is 24 years his senior, which may explain some of these rudimentary gaps in his knowledge. Too much sitting at the back of class sighing at madame and writing poetry rather than learning such essentials as “le oiseau est dans l’arbre”. Still, he struggled by and with the help of a friendly interpreter so did I.

A spectacular missing of the point I think.

Tinned spaghetti pizza

If a prime minister wants to truly unite a nation – one way not to do it is to cook a pizza with spaghetti topping.

This seems to be the lesson that New Zealand’s leader, Bill English, can take away after he dabbled in the kitchen and sprinkled his result on social media this week.

On Tuesday night English cooked dinner for his family – a 1980s rural Kiwi classic: tinned spaghetti and pineapple pizza. Later, he posted a series of photos of his home-spun efforts on Facebook.

Fortunately we’ve Adam Smith and David Ricardo to come to the rescue here. Division and specialisation of labour, the resultant trade from the greater production, we’re best off when everyone does what they’re least bad at.

Meaning that perhaps English should be trying to run the country because he most certainly shouldn’t be trying to cook for it.

Then again, the Southland, eh?

Some said tinned spaghetti and pineapple pizza was a nostalgic staple of a Southland childhood (English hails from the tiny farming community of Dipton at the bottom of the South Island) and they praised his budget-friendly dinner as an affordable option for “beneficiaries”.

One woman wrote: “Yup this is how we made pizzas growing up! Must be a Southland thing! Still make them like this for my kids and they love them. Sometimes we use baked beans – oops, maybe I’ve just opened another can of worms……”

Must be why they breed such fierce rugby players down there. Desperate to go touring with the All Blacks in search of a decent meal…..

So which country would you prefer?

Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond in village

Fox News  – ‎19 hours ago‎
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – A pastor in Sierra Leone has discovered the largest uncut diamond found in more than four decades in this West African country and has turned it over to the government, saying he hopes it helps to boost recent development in …

Quite astonishing

Hooded youths armed with iron bars have gone on the rampage in secondary schools in the tinderbox suburbs north of Paris, sparking more than 50 arrests.

The violence prompted the far-Right Front National to claim that the government had lost control in suburbs around France, prey to lawlessness, drug dealing and ethnic and religious tensions.

The teenagers threw stones at police cars, started fires and lobbed smoke bombs in three sixth form colleges in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

Ethnic and religious tensions, prey to, is pretty light as a description of the banlieues around Paris, isn’t it?

This will work out well, won’t it?

President Jacob Zumahas called on parliament to change South Africa’s constitution to allow the expropriation of white owned land without compensation.

And this won’t work well either:

Mr Zuma, 74, who made the remarks in a speech yesterday/FRI morning, said he wanted to establish a “pre-colonial land audit of land use and occupation patterns” before changing the law.

There were no Bantu over the Fish River which is going to cock up some of that grievance politics good and proper.

This does appear ever so slightly suspicious

More than 120 diners celebrating a baptism fled without paying their bill €2,000 restaurant bill after the main courses.
The Romanian diners, who had paid a deposit of €900 (£770) to eat at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, north-eastern Spain, fled as waiters were about to serve dessert.
Restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez told the BBC: ‘It happened in the space of a minute. It was something they had planned and they left in a stampede.’

Given the baptism it shouldn’t be too hard to find a name……

Doesn’t add to Hollande’s reputation for competence, does it?

At least two people have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired during a speech by President François Hollande, French media have reported.

Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon in central France to mark the opening of a high-speed railway line between Paris and Bordeaux when a police marksman accidentally opened fire, the Sud-Ouest newspaper reported.

The paper quoted local officials as saying the member of the elite gendarmerie protection squad charged with protecting the president was positioned on a rooftop about 100 metres from the marquee where the ceremony was taking place.

The safety catch on the officer’s rifle was reportedly off and the shot was fired when he tripped while adjusting his position. The bullet pierced the marquee roof, hitting a waiter in the leg and a railway employee in the foot, according to Pierre N’Gahane, state prefect of the Charente region.

There were unconfirmed local media reports that the sniper had shot himself in the foot and could be seen hopping up and down.

Sure, it’s nothing to do with him at all but if someone was to go full Clouseau it would be Hollande’s retinue, wouldn’t it?

I even think he looks like Herbert Lom….sorta

Even the Romans would say Naples isn’t quite Europe

Doctors and nurses are among 94 hospital workers from Naples who have been placed under investigation on suspicion of repeatedly skipping work, police have said .

One supervisor at the Loreto Mare hospital was found working as a chef in a hotel, while an on-duty doctor was spotted playing tennis and going shopping. Two health workers were caught clocking in 20 colleagues each day to make it look like they were on the job.

Bit hyperbolic, but Africa starts 20 km south of wherever your Italian discussing it comes from.

The French are weird

A workmen’s café in central France was overwhelmed with gourmet customers and TV crews after it was awarded a Michelin star — by mistake, it later turned out.

OK, such things happen.

Prospective customers were astounded when they turned up at the Bouche à Oreille, in the small town of Bourges, to find a cheap and cheerful eatery with red and white polka dot tablecloths, serving a fixed price lunch menu with homemade lasagna or beef bourguignon for about €10 (£8.50).

Right.

The other Bouche à Oreille, in Boutervilliers near Paris, offers linen tablecloths and dishes such as calf’s brain, lobster flan and chocolate pear crisp, with a €48 menu including a glass of champagne.

Weird little Froggies. Seriously, a decent beef stew or a cow’s head? Which would you prefer, which would you pay more for?

Not quite as bad as it looks at first but still

French Jews holding dual Israeli citizenship will have to give up one of their nationalities if Marine Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, wins the presidential election this spring.

The leader of the anti-immigration Front National said she would bar French nationals from holding the citizenship of countries outside the European Union, except for Russia, which she described as part of “the Europe of nations.”

The first paragraph is horrible of course, the second shows that it’s not quite that bad although still bad (Russia for fuck’s sake?). As to the EU I don’t think she can ban it, can she?

Hmm

The current favourite to become the next president of France has been forced to deny rumours that he is enjoying an extra-marital gay affair with a high-profile media chief.
Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old former economy minister, has been rumoured to be seeing Mathieu Gallet, the 40-year-old boss of Radio France.
This is despite Mr Macron being married for the last decade to Brigitte Trogneux, who is 20 years older than him.

I do like that “despite” there.

Not really Mo, no

Mo Farah, a runner who was knighted after becoming the most successful track athlete in Britain’s Olympic history, condemned the executive order banning people from certain Muslim countries, saying that “President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.”

You have a British passport, don’t you?

BTW, even with one of those in American law you are actually an alien.

Have to admit I wouldn’t do this

Squatters have taken over a £15 million mansion owned by a Russian billionaire in one of Britain’s most expensive and exclusive streets.

The group has allegedly been in the Grade II listed building in Eaton Square for three days.

The property, which was built in the early 1820s, has believed to have been empty ever since Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko bought it in 2014.

You never know how much an oligarch has been tamed. Quite how much that important distinction between here’s how we do things at home and here’s how they do things there has sunk home.

On the one hand, Sberbank, close to the heart of the Putinist state. On the other, came up through Troika Dialog, so maybe Bernie Sucher trained him well.

Just not a risk I would take really.