Johnny Foreigner

Frexit on the cards

Not that it’ll happen, this is posturing:

Michel Barnier said that France had to regain the sovereignty it has lost to European courts on Thursday and called for a referendum on a ban on non-EU immigration.

He seems to miss the point of that EU thing in the first place.

The former Brexit negotiator and EU commissioner was accused of hypocrisy because his comments appeared to contradict many of the positions he took when he was helming talks with the UK.

Of course he’s a hypocrite. He’s a politician. He’s also French which is sufficient.

But wouldn’t it be fun if France did leave?

It’s always Latin America, isn’t it?

Brazil’s match with Argentina descended into farce on Sunday evening before it was abandoned after health officials invaded the pitch to deport four Premier League players accused of misleading authorities over their flights from the UK.

This sort of absurd chaos. Just, for some reason, the right place for it. Like Ruritania for princes in hussar uniforms, culturally appropriate.

What is there to fear?

Yes, OK, the Italian right isn’t quite as fluffy as our own. But still:

Meloni has been thrust into the limelight by FdI – a far-right party with roots in a pro-Mussolini party founded after the Second World War – topping opinion polls for the first time after effectively becoming the entirety of Italy’s opposition.

It is the only significant party not in Italian prime minister Mario Draghi’s emergency cross-spectrum administration. It has helped Meloni, 44, and the only female leader of a major Italina party, scoop up disaffected voters, particularly from the once-dominant and right-wing populist Lega.

Rome’s political destiny appears to be tied up with the fortunes of Draghi’s government, his economic plan and the right-wing populists that dominate the polls. And the end of president Sergio Mattarella’s term early next year could usher in early elections that bring about the right-wing coalition long feared by markets. After a period of unusual calm, is Italy heading for trouble once again?

Draghi has been tasked with reviving an economy that has not grown in real terms for 20 years and was hit hard by the pandemic.

A political establishment that hasn’t allowed – let alone produced – growth in two decades. Their overturning might well be welcomed by markets rather than feared.

Just to remind, English and American are different languages

Chaheti Bansal, 27, a Californian who posts south Asian recipes on Instagram, said in a video that has been viewed 3.6 million times: “There’s a saying that the food in India changes every 100km and yet we’re still using this umbrella term popularised by white people who couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual names of our dishes.”

She called on people to “unlearn” the term, which became prominent during the British rule of India. “I don’t understand what that word means,” she said, adding that her recipe was “called gatte, not curry”.

Super, how lovely. But you are a Californian, speaking your own variant of English. We are English, speaking our own variant. The two are sufficiently different to be different languages – well, almost.

And here’s the thing about this cultural appropriation, cultural imperialism. We get to decide the language we use just as you get to decide what you do. Because you deciding for us is imperialism.

Which is very Tsk, isn’t it?

The whole idea is so embedded in our – note our – culture that we even spoof it:

In short, bugger off Honey.

I’m seeing a pattern here

Macron grapples with new ‘gilets jaunes’ protests against vaccine passports
President faces backlash over France’s controversial health pass brought in to boost a lagging pace of vaccinations

I’m not hugely convinced that the gilet jaunes are “because vaccine passports”. As I’m not that they were about petrol prices.

I am though getting the impression that there’s a large chunk of the French population extremely pissed off. At “the system”. The establishment. Them.

The particular trigger is just that, a trigger, not an actual cause.

Just a thought

In Lebanon, mismanagement of fuel supplies has contributed to the water crisis. The central bank has subsidised imports but has now run out of dollars, leading to widespread shortages.

Mains electricity is running at a maximum of two hours a day. Operators of the private generators which make up the difference may have to turn them off in the next few days for lack of diesel — raising the extraordinary prospect of a modern country almost entirely without electricity.

How long is it going to remain a modern country without electricity?

Well, yes, this is true

In Portugal, where the 14-day incidence is over 240, people hoping to check into a hotel or eat in a restaurant now have to present proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Night-time curfews have been reimposed in many municipalities, including in the tourist hotspot of the Algarve, where police say they are struggling to keep young people off the streets.

No one is taking a blind bit of notice of that curfew.

Further, yesterday we had a car parade – quite a common form of protest here – from the bar owners etc insisting that all restrictions need to be lifted immediately.

Time for a remake

A speed limit of 30 km/h will be imposed on almost all of Paris next month, to the approval of its residents but to the dismay of drivers who accuse the city council of a war on motor vehicles.

Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor, said the election pledge she made to expand low-speed zones that already cover 60 per cent of the city would be implemented before September.

The socialist version would be pretty boring but then socialism always is, isn’t it?

Sweden was right

The original Swedish contention was not that coronavirus is nowt so buggerit millennium hand and shrimp.

Rather, folks will only buckle down to restrictions for a period of time. An unknown period but shorter the more restrictive they are. Thus hold truly restrictive measures until they’re absolutely needed:

NHS staff deleting Covid app as calls grow for doctors to be exempt from self-isolation
Managers say some staff are privately leaving app off at all times or deleting it because they fear being forced to into quarantine

Sweden was right.

People do take the piss, don’t they?

So, we generally don’t allow animals, uncaged and untethered, onto planes. We do make an exception for service animals – Americanese for guide dogs for the blind etc. Rational, sensible, lots of grey areas but still.

Emotional support animals. Hmm, well, umm.

As Habibi is trained to be an emotional support animal and be with her during a flight, such separation was stressful for the two of them, Egeto says. She opted to buy a car to facilitate trips back and forth from Boston and Florida rather than fly.

“Not being able to have my [emotional support animal] available to me while I’m transitioning out of the pandemic was insurmountable,” said Egeto, calling the situation “stressful.” Egeto says she was “grateful” she had the resources to buy a car, but did not want to; “I hadn’t owned one in two years,” she noted.

Egeto is one of thousands facing a harsh new era in air travel, in which emotional support animals are separated from their owners. In 2016, U.S. airlines carried 540,000 passengers with emotional support animals, according to Airlines for America. That number more than doubled to over 1 million by 2018. In 2019, Airlines for America, the trade association for major U.S. airlines, wrote in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao that emotional support animals led to an increase in “incidents” that have “ranged from mauling and biting to urinating and defecating.”

Emotional support animals were classed, by DoT, as something like service animals. They will be carried. Now they won’t be.

Largely because people were taking the piss. There was at least one incident of someone insisting that a Shetland pony was an emotional support animal and must be – and was – allowed on a flight.

“The regulations are fundamentally unfair, prioritizing corporate interests over the rights of Americans with disabilities,” wrote Curt Decker, an executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, in a USA Today op-ed. “We believe that the provisions dealing with emotional support animals should be rescinded.”

Oh aye?

Oh, very fun

That happened when McMillan was based in Rome (he was also fluent in Italian). He was later posted to Dhaka in Bangladesh. Among his experiences there was being refused entry to the Dhaka Club, despite being a member. One morning he arrived dressed in the local Bengali garb of kurta pyjama only to be told by the secretary that the rules required a jacket and tie. “But Mr Secretary this is your national dress,” he protested. “But Mr McMillan these are your rules,” replied the secretary.

The Dhaka Club now being largely populated by the owners of the garment factories. Not just natives, but in trade!

Tsk

Passengers were warned of waits of up to four hours at a testing site set up in the car park at Faro airport in the south of the country. Many other testing sites in the Algarve were closed yesterday or dealing with a backlog after a public holiday last Thursday. A list of sites published by the government was only available in Portuguese.

That the Portugee use Portugee in Portgee-land.

Alternative analyses

Sweden is the only European country where fatal shootings have risen significantly since 2000, leaping from one of the lowest rates of gun violence on the continent to one of the highest in less than a decade, a report has found.

The report, by the Swedish national council for crime prevention (BRA), said the Scandinavian country had overtaken Italy and eastern European countries primarily because of the violent activities of organised criminal gangs.

So, why, why?

Immigration? As of 2010 some 14% were foreign born in Sweden, 64% of which were non-EU.

Or, and wouldn’t this be delicious, by making buying sex illegal they’ve driven the trade underground and so into gang hands. Like US Prohibition raised the violence rate……

Quite right too

Emmanuel Macron has bowed to Boris Johnson by stumping up French taxpayer cash to lead a bailout for Eurostar.

The French government and Eurostar’s other shareholders will stump up £200m to rescue the Channel Tunnel rail operator, with Britain not paying a penny or providing any loan guarantees, The Telegraph can reveal.

After all, they do own it…..

Well, there’s your problem then

Fed up living in a world designed by and for men, 80s design activists Matrix declared war on every urban obstacle in their way. And their impact is still being felt today

When Le Corbusier developed his proportional system Le Modulor in the 1940s, the great architect had in mind a handsome British policeman. His system would go on to shape the entire postwar world, dictating everything from the height of a door handle to the scale of a staircase, all governed by the need to make everything as convenient as possible for this 6ft-tall ideal man.

If you allow the French to be involved in planning anything then of course it’s going to be a screw up. Vide EU, euro, etc……

Congratulations to The Guardian

So, they set out to ask this question:

Who owns Australia?

OK, interesting.

Pastoral leases cover 44% of Australia, according to Austrade. Pastoral leases are defined by Austrade as a title issued for the lease of an area of crown land to use for the limited purpose of grazing of stock and associated activities. We were able to identify the leaseholders for just over half that area, pulling together data on more than 400 owners who together hold 700 stations covering 189.5m hectares – or about a quarter of the country.

Add in the actual Crown land – I think – and you get to majority ownership.

That is, the government of Australia owns the majority of Australia.

At which point the Guardian chunters on about who owns the leases, not the land.

It’s ever such a bit misleading…..

How excellent this is!

At least a third of French wine production worth almost €2bn (£1.7bn) in sales will be lost this year after rare freezing temperatures devastated many vines and fruit crops across France, raising concerns over the climate crisis.

It was only weeks ago that the same French vintners were bemoaning the fall in consumption which had led to a collapse of prices.

Self-solving problems are, well, self-solving.