Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Jesse James Reversed

Jesse James was a lad who saved many a land
He robbed the gravy train
He stole from the poor and he gave to the rich
He’d a claw and a jaw and a brain

[Freely after the folk balled ‘Jesse James’]

Alright: now that yet another country has been put into receivership… Oh, no, forgive me! I am so stupid that I think a 100 billion Euros in alms might come with strings attached, and according to every Spanish bigwig involved, this is not at all the case. The 100 billion are – in the words of the Spanish minister of economics – only ‘financial assistance’ with just some mild overseeing by the IMF. Strangely, the German minister of finance Wolfgang Schäuble is just as stupid as I am. He spoke of strict supervision of the entire Spanish performance – i.e. both banks and government - by the whole of the Abominable Troika. These Gerries! They can never get it right, can they?

Okay then: now that Spain has been lent a gentle helping hand to weather the storm – which, incidentally, is quickly subsiding never again to return - without any detrimental effects, naturally, to the wellbeing of their poor, sick, young, elderly, unemployed, homeless and hopeless, it is perhaps a good moment to take a look at the splendid people to whom we owe present state of our continent. They who gave us the Divine Euro, the Democracy and Prosperity, the Peace and Stability, the Growth and Employment for all, which we enjoy today…

For instance Mr Karel de Gucht, the Belgian Eurocommissar for Trade in the Barroso Politburo. A man who stands for fairness, equity and accountability. For openness, transparency and principle. For morality, good governance and thrift…

Today we learned the news (click here for an English version, and here for the French) that the Belgian revenue service has formally accused Mr de Gucht of failing to declare 1.2 million Euros profits on the sale of a stock portfolio a number of years ago. The revenue service discovered this when they put his income next to his expenditure, one item of which happened to be a country estate in Toscana. Mr de Gucht denies these allegations. It is all a political conspiracy to damage his reputation (tax men are famous for abusing their powers so as to damage the reputations of unelected politicians…). There was a sale of stocks, he admits, but no taxes were due over the profits. And just to be on the safe side, Mr de Gucht points out that whatever may have happened – and it was not fraud! – has legally prescribed after 7 years.

Fairness. Accountability. Transparency.


Of course, any Politburo may turn out to contain an uncharacteristic rotten apple. Such things happen in all human affairs. Except that it is perhaps less of a rarity than we often think? Check out this harangue from Nigel Farage, a few years back at the time of the installation of the Barroso Administration…

Oh, and remember: these are the very same people who so gladly drive home the Hetze that if children starve in Greece, it is all the fault of their parents for evading taxes…


  1. Thank you for providing an entertaining and informative blog, I am a regular reader of Colin Davies´blog and followed one of his links. I enjoyed your succinct views on the Spanish banking crisis and wondered if you had come across El Pais in English which today carrried a history of the Caja problem. The site (which also has electronic versions of British daily newspapers) is:
    Of course, this may be a case of teaching my granny to suck eggs, in which case I apologise for wasting your time.

    Best regards anyway

  2. I apologise once again for writing the above comment as "anonymous" but I don't know what the other profiles mean or how to use them.


    1. Dear David,

      Thank you for a stimulating reaction. I really do not mind readers leaving an 'anonymous' comment, especially if they then sign with their name. If they don't, things become a little messy. You never know if a first Mr Anonymous happens to be a second Mr Anonymous whom you insulted just a few days ago, of that pleasant Mr Anonymous who praised a posting of yours last week. How, I ask, is one to know what attitude to take to 'anonymous' Mr Anonymouses??

      Thank you for the link, by the way. Indeed quite useful if one wants to refer non Spanish reading readers to the Spanish news.

      Yours, Alfred.

  3. You can't trust anyone with a name like Karel. It would be interesting to see what transpires...

    1. Dear Ms Azra,

      You seem to have an axe to grind with fellows called Karel. I am most curious as to the reason and the tale behind it; but by all means do not share it with me if you do not want to.

      What will happen with that gentleman? He will resist with all his considerable might of course. And then, if the proof is too overwhelming, he will step down so as to 'prepare his defense' away from the limelight. The chance that he will ever be brought to justice is nil. He will claim that the press has already crucified him. That stepping down was enough punishment. That he does nothing worse than everybody else, etc etc etc. In the end he will fade into the shadows, with his gains intact, and retire to Toscana.

      Ah, the good old days when public figures still had some shame...!

      Yours, Alfred

  4. I have nothing against any Karel Mr. Mittington :) I do however recall a delinquent named Karel when I was in Primary School. He was one of the students always pulling pranks and he managed to annoy most of the teachers. I guess the name has since spurred that association.