Wednesday 20 February 2013

Roaming In The Gloaming

This morning it was assumed that there was a subject on which to post and the link was tucked away ready to be put into text.  The item was to be a complaint that important matters were left out of consideration by the main media whilst other things of parallel importance were flogged to the bitter end.

But petrol was needed for the car first.  At the garage amongst the newspapers it was evident that the media were discussing this same subject.  A near miss, but it can happen.  The scratching about for another subject found that the one preferred had already been well covered as well.

Then it occurred to me that the subject of The Romanian Invasion might be good for a few words, but there was a problem.  The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (rhymes with “beg”) announced that the government estimates could not be published because they were essentially “Guesstimates”.

So what’s new, I thought, wondering what that meant.  It may mean another horror story, or something that might just go away or wait for a busy news day.  The other problem with this is that on Saturday we paid money to be in a large room being sung at for two hours by two Romanian opera singers in the principal roles and others. 

They were very good indeed and fully deserved the rapt applause from a full house where not a seat was to spare.  However, on the way to the station it did not stop me side stepping the Romanian sellers of the “Big Issue”, the magazine for the unemployed, and failing to buy a copy.  There may just be a touch of the old double standards at work here.

The matter of the potential for numbers to come to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria is one that is causing debate.  But it would not the first time that Bulgarians were a key political issue.  In the General Election of 1880, William Gladstone in his Midlothian Campaign (see Wikipedia) made them central to his appeals to the electorate.

Then Bulgaria was a province of The Ottoman Empire, ruled over by Turks who did not take kindly to opposition and who took violent action to control them.  The Conservative Government supported the Ottoman’s as a buffer against Russia.  So to appeal for support for fellow Christians was a Liberal vote winner.

Given that at the time there was economic and financial stress, British agriculture was going into steady decline as a result of Liberal Free Trade, impoverishing the countryside and all the Imperial activity, South Africa, Afghanistan, Egypt and a few other places, the Bulgarian Atrocities was something to deflect attention.

In the photograph in the Wikipedia article, Gladstone is shown with members of the high elite of the time, The Rosebery’s, with inevitably one of the leading Rothschild’s in attendance, backing both sides as ever.  Not a lot really changes.

What may happen with the Bulgarians and Romanians is still an open question.  One man who could certainly advise the government is Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and the great grandson of Ali Kemal Bey (see Wikipedia), a Turk prominent in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire a few years later.

This one, like the opera, will run and run.

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