At the End of the Day

Evergreen certainties

Further to this morning’s Slogpost about things we can no longer rely upon, here by way of contrast is a selection from todays news of things we can always be sure about:

1. More and more power in the EU heading towards Berlin

‘…der Eurofinanzminister das Recht bekommt, einen eigenen Zuschlag auf die Steuern zu erheben..’ is a phrase being chucked about in the German media this morning, almost exactly word for word wherever it appears. It means ‘the fiskalunion boss (to be Wolfgang Schäuble, naturally) will have the right to add his own surcharge onto [member State] taxes’, suggests Die Zeit.

Germany expresses its willingness ‘to have an open discussion with its European partners on the subject’. How terribly considerate of it.

2. The US will do anything to appease a NATO State situated on its more vulnerable flanks

Turkey has started striking Islamic State militants, which helps the US-led coalition.

But it’s also attacking the Kurdish PKK movement again. So the White House says Turkey has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks by Kurdish rebels. White House spokesman Alistair Baskey says the PKK should renounce terrorism and resume talks with Turkey’s government.

Which comes under the ancient heading of, “Yes well, he would say that”.

3. Ennobled overseer of standards in public life shown to have hypocritical private life

Baron John Sewel, 69, will step down from his roles as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees at the House of Lords following the Sun on Sunday’s publication of a 45-minute video that showed how the Peer ‘stripped naked for a drug-fuelled sex romp at his London flat’. In the company of two prostitutes, he was also recorded snorting cocaine and referring to Asian women as “whores”.

Last week, Sewel unveiled new powers to expel peers for bad behaviour, saying: “The actions of a few damage our reputation.” Perhaps he was just doing research to be absolutely certain of his facts.

What is it with British peers and their seemingly infinite capacity for laughable sexual fantasies? Many years ago I was informed by one senior journalist at a ‘serious’ paper that he knew of a Law Lord who hired girls dressed in Lyons Corner House waitress outfits to pelt him with prunes in his bath. Imagine the fees a Jungian shrink could rack up explaining that one.

4. Yanis Varoufakis grants an interview

I totted up last Friday that Varoufartacus has given 17 media interviews in the 20 days since his resignation as Greek finance minister. He’s also admitted to 6 separate leaks, and has his fingerprints all over at least four others.

The main reason Yanis giving interviews and disseminating evidence has become so much a part of our lives is very simple: he is battling against an avalanche of dissembling, untruths and dirty tricks from Troika2; and at the same time trying to put the Tsipras capitulation into some kind of context wherein Greeks can understand what he did.

Given that his current shtick – Schäuble doesn’t really GAF about Greece, and his main goal is the application of FiskalUnion to France – matches my information entirely, this cheers me up. But also, I cannot entirely free myself from a conviction I’ve had all along about Mr Varoufakis…that he’s a bit of a matinée idol manqué, and really does like the limelight.

So you see, some things are still in the business as usual spectrum….even if that means SNAFU. Schäuble and Draghi aren’t getting on, Osborne fired his main regulator (I mean, the boundah was catching people for God’s sake), Manchester United are having a successful pre-season programme prior to complete loss of form once there are points at stake, The Tory press insists that Jeremy Corbyn is a spawn of the Devil, beautiful women are still marrrying small, bald-headed blokes worth £400m, the police are appealing for help on Twitter, the Greek stock market is closed, and African heads of State are opening Swiss bank accounts.

I leave you with this other ever-present tonight: