Monday 4 February 2013

Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent

There is too much news today.  So either things really are getting lively or what may have been delayed matters have simply come together.  Chaos theorists will know the feeling.  The real problem may be the stories that are not being told but are of significance because of the current clatter.

So to begin, not perhaps at the beginning but in the middle.  Chris Huhne, former leading LibDem Cabinet Minister and the nearly man of their leadership contest has pleaded guilty and is facing a spell of quiet retirement at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.  Hell hath no fury like a women scorned, in that his former wife blew the gaffe.

Also, he has resigned from his parliamentary seat with immediate effect which means an interesting bye-election very soon.  It is at Eastleigh in Hampshire, the one time railway town now more of a decayed suburb with a large rural element.  Theoretically, the Conservatives might win, but watch for outsiders such as UKIP.

By pure coincidence, the Chancellor, George Osborne, appeared to tell us about the Banking Reform Bill which he assures us will bash the bad bankers.  This ought to enable the good guys, or rather those with better alibis or lawyers, to give the ordinary people better service.  The fly boys in trading and speculation will take their own risks.

What was worrying about this was the way not only he lauded the financial services sector but that it sounded uncommonly like we are betting the house on keeping this industry in major play in a troubled world. 

There are indeed many excellent services The City and others in the UK can give to the world without ruining it but to regard it is the key to all our futures is misplaced optimism. 

In 1945 I recall the nationalisation of the Coal, Iron and Steel, Road Transport, Railways and docks were regarded as the way forward.  It did not really work out like that.  The world changed and is changing even more rapidly now, especially in financial structures and movements of capital and money.

One small clue to this was the announcement by the international soccer chiefs that 380 key matches have been identified as subject to fraud.  Their reasons was that major gambling syndicates in Asia had found it more profitable to know the results before the games took place rather than after.

In the financial world, this might have been regarded as justifiable hedging of bets, but then they have been fixing the data as well.  What we found intriguing about this is our private household bets with each other.

The extent of gambling advertising and sponsorship now in soccer is great and often during half time a gambling firm offers what look to be like attractive odds for a particular player to score next. 

My bet is that this indicates they will be substituted at an early stage.  To date, I am winning, which means I get the bigger half of the puddings.  All this is of dust compared to the big story.

The University of Leicester, after a major research effort, are of the opinion that the remains found entombed under a council offices car park at Greyfriars in Leicester are those of King Richard III who died at Bosworth Field in 1485.  He may have been the last of the Plantagenet Kings, but he was not the last of the Plantagenets.  There are a great many of them left from down various female lines of descent.

This was indicated by the number of executions carried out under the Tudors of persons who had some form of Plantagenet ancestry.  You have to know the way around the descents of many families to realise the scale of it, but as a simple example, all of the wives of King Henry VIII descended from King Edward I.

King Richard III these days is cast in the role of a villain, largely due to the play by William Shakespeare, superlative dramatist, but also spinner and propagandist to the Tudors and then the first Stuart King of England.  The reality may be much more complicated, life at the top in the Middle Ages could be brutish and short.

Shakespeare was a Warwickshire man, and his forebears could be amongst those of that name who in the early 15th Century were members of the Guild of St. Anne at Balsall.  If you try the famous speech, titled above, in a Birmingham accent it works quite well and allows a distinct sneer to the tone, which may relate to the play.

On the other hand if you try it in what used to be a more East Midlands accent, shorter, more practical in sound and clipped it also works very well.  These days we have become conditioned to hearing it either in theatrical or more recently “estuary” accents.

Back to the beginning, in a more robust age of the past Huhne’s head may well have been off, no long prison days watching satellite TV, writing his memoirs and complaining about the non-vegetarian diet. 

George Osborne might remember that when former Chancellors adopted a high risk political venture, if it all went wrong they too would be facing the block and not wearisome years of high paid board meetings or consultancies.

But it may not be a good idea placing bets on anything because the bookies may already have all the answers.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be amazed if soccer isn't far more corrupt than we are led to believe. The sums of money are so vast.