Monday, 21 December 2015

Humpty-dumpty parliament

Sometimes silence is better than gold, dear reader. And today is one such day. When I got up this morning, it was with the intent of writing an elaborate, lengthy, well-argued and utterly profound analysis of yesterday’s general elections in Spain. But what do you think I discovered, when – for a quick check-up - I re-read previous political comments Alfred B Mittington had made? Well, I discovered that the Mittington Analysis of the municipal elections of May 24th last, is still perfectly valid and applicable to yesterday’s national elections! All you need to do is ignore the timeframe and pretend we’re talking about the national parliament instead of local councils. Read it here if you’re interested.

So that simply leaves giving you yesterday’s results and the forecast for the future. The former is pretty easy; the latter less so. Limiting myself to the four big parties that really matter the seats won in the Madrid Cortes are:

PP (conservative)       123
Ciudadanos (liberal)     40
PSOE (socialist)          90
Podemos (radical left)  69

This result is hailed as a triumph by the two new parties (Ciudadanos and Podemos) and by everyone who is sick or tired of the old petrified two-party system in which PP and PSOE alternated in power, both abusing it to their heart’s delight when their turn came. However, it is one thing to applaud a socio-political watershed for the history book, Max Weber style; and quite another to govern a country in deep trouble, like Spain is today. This fragmented, shattered & scattered, parliament obliges the political leadership to form some sort of coalition; and even if Spaniards were temperamentally fit for that (and believe me they are not!), it would still be an impossible job, as no workable combination (i.e. naturally left-leaning or right-leaning) reaches the parliamentary majority of 176 in the 350 seat lower house.

You can do the math for yourselves; but believe ol’ Al’ when he says that there are only two, equally unthinkable combinations which add up numerically.

The first is a coalition of the PP and the PSOE, good for over 210 seats This would be a laugh, after the 40 years these two have been at each other’s throats like Cain and Abel, and it would immediately be seen as the Coalition of the Biparty Dinosaurs, trying to hold on to their old dominance of power. Let’s see how well that goes down with an electorate which has just shown it is sick and tired of just that.

'You first…' - 'No! You!'

The second is what was already dubbed long ago as the Coalition of Losers: PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos, leaving the formal victor out of the loop. In a northern country, like Germany or The Netherland, this might work, as these places have a long democratic history and much experience with the subtleties of coalition-building and maintaining stability. But Spanish democracy is young and passions are strong and honour is a (deadly) virtue among the Dons. So I fail to see how these Three Graces could possibly decide upon a threesome. I mean: one of them would have to undress first, and then they’d have to agree upon all sorts of positions

In short: Spain is living in interesting times, as the Chinese curse goes.

You want my wildest guess as to the future? My wildest guess is that they will put in some minority government supported by the tiny arms of a whole range of Lilliput lower house factions. It will be the shortest-lived government of Spanish democracy; and in 2016 we’ll have new elections. And then let’s see if the Bipartisan Jurassic truly ended yesterday evening…

Monday, 12 October 2015

Photoshop Phraud

Recently, and all over the globe, an epidemic of scandals has broken out concerning the horrible and hypocrite use of the Photoshop program to jazz things up and make people appear far more sexy and youthful than they are in their flesh and blood. I must say the indignation of the public is justified. The things you see are shocking! Society matrons who are far beyond their sell-by date are made to look like fillies straight out of the stud farm; top models are moulded and polished and liposucked the pixel way until they are beyond all recognition; and even politicians are being digitally enhanced so as to increase their potential to attract electoral attention (I mean… does anybody really think that hair on Mr Trump’s skull is real??)

Now, normally, Alfred B Mittington could not care less about such Vanitas Vanitatum of the under-aged world into which he was born far too early… But he draws the line, dear reader, there where these Digital Reprobates and Barefacebookies tamper with the respectable appearance of a dear old close personal friend of his, who cannot defend himself for being dead! How dare they! J’Accuse with a vengeance, and I will soon take legal action against the lads and lassies who dared to turn this picture of dear old Winston:

Into THIS shocking travesty of truth for the advertisements of a top hat manufacturer:

Shame, I say! Shame shame shame…!!!!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Ten selfies of the Invisible Man

Now that the holidays are over, it is time to share our snapshots with the rest of humanity. As I myself do not use them modern digital devices, and the tripod of the Camera Obscurae really becomes a little too heavy and clumsy to schlepp around at my age, I have asked a good old friend to provide me with his holiday pictures. And so I offer you today, dear reader, a unique peek into the Selfies of the Invisible Man, snapped during his recent World Tour.

In the Kheops Burial chamber, Giza

At the Victoria Falls

Before the Coliseum, Rome


Père Lachaise, Paris

Taking coffee in Florence with his wife

In front of the Tree of Ténéré, Niger

At the Norwegian coast

Sitting on the Toros de Guisando, Avila, Spain

South Pole !!!!

Friday, 3 July 2015

It is Scylla and Charybdis for our time!

Dear reader, I cannot tell what the Greeks should vote in the coming Referendum. The choice between the Scylla and Charybdis of the Oxi and the Nai, the Yes or No, the sink or founder, is like asking them to chose between death by hanging or by electric chair. So Alfred B Mittingon refrains from taking a position, and from making predictions as to what will happen next Sunday.

What I do know, however, is that the Brussels Eurogues will use the outcome, whatever it is, to get rid of the Syriza government. They will use a No vote to the Austerity Deal as a convenient excuse to refuse any further dialogue with ‘an intransigent regime of upstart radicals’ (or words to that effect), and allow Greece to plunge into total chaos, which will lead to new elections; while a Yes vote implies that the Syriza government has lost its mandate to resist the Abominable Troika, and has no choice but to step down.

Soon after, through new elections or – preferably of course – by simple backroom horse trading, the previous government will return to power. A government led by Mr Samaras of Nea Demokratia, in combination with the good old PASOK and a few more spineless fringe parties; the same folk, that is, who plunged Greece into its present plight by their corruption, clientelism, cronyism and abuse of public funds. The same who lied through their teeth to have Greece join the Euro. The same who borrowed to their heart’s delight to buy votes and fill their party coffers. Europe will welcome them with open arms, because ‘they may be bastards, but they are OUR bastards’. They are our friends. They are our lackeys, who will do our bidding and follow orders.

And here is the true irony. As soon as this new obedient rogue regime has taken office, the Troika and the Brussels Nomenklatura will miraculously see the light, and grand the country a gigantic debt relief (to be shouldered by the European taxpayer) because they suddenly recognize that not in a thousand years a tiny country in the present state of depression can repay the entire burden of institutional debts (why do you think the ever cautious IMF yesterday hinted at precisely such a thing?) Thus, the friendly new cabinet of yesterday’s kleptocrats will be granted the very deal which would have made Mr Tsipras and Mr Varufakis gladly accept the ‘rescue’ program.

But it could not be done before, you see; because doing so would have given a lease on life to a rebellious regime which dared to stand up to EU Diktats. And that was unthinkable. For getting rid of the elected enemy has been the first priority of our Brussels Masters in what they passed off as negotiations ever since January. Syriza had to be crushed. And crushed they will be.

I leave you with a dark and gloomy thought: when all is said and done and the bottom line is reached, Mr Tsipras has been doing the Brussels Beurocracy the greatest imaginable favour an adversary ever bestowed on his foe. It was obvious from the start, and got clearer by the day, that the Greek debt situation was going to implode and lead to Grexit if not worse. Now, however, the Junckers and the Dijsselbloems, the Merkels and the Schläubes, the Tusks, the Schulzes, the Draghis and all the other heartless Eurogues can blame the denouement, not on the rotten structure of their Eurozone, but on the evil doings of a handful of communist radicals.

I hear a sigh of relief from the banks of the Spree, the Seine and the Senne. I hear the flexing of monstrous muscles in preparation of the next move…

Brace yourselves, ye Europeans! Very soon Scylla and Charybdis will be coming for you as well!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Golden Quotebook: Charles Colson on the Family Jewels

The tangle, the defiance, the challenge and the reckless gamble by all involved in the coming Greek referendum, immediately brought to my mind a somewhat rough, but certainly utterly honest observation by Charles “Chuck” Wendell Colson.

Mr Colson used to be a special assistant to President Richard Nixon back in the 70s, and in that capacity performed a number of rather disreputable tasks, among other things (the more amusing ones you can read up on here) the organisation of the Watergate burglary that ultimately brought the Nixon administration down. For this and many other transgressions he served a prison term, after which – to his credit – he saw the Light, found the Lord and did his best to make up for his many sins as a preacher and a conscientious Christian.

Chuck Colson was, if anything, a ruthless Realpolitker (it was said by one who did not even dislike him all that much, that he was ‘The Evil Genius of an Evil Administration’, who wouldn’t think twice about walking over his own grandmother if this were necessary to win a re-election…), and he believed that the way to political popularity often involved a certain dose of pressure. Or, as he himself put it in far more flowery terms than my own:

Once you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow…!

This, dear reader, is of course what today the Brussels Nomenklatura firmly believes about the Greek populace. Let them sweat! Let them starve! Let them panic and make them bleed! Never give in an inch, and then they will learn to love us!

They may well be right, for bullying often works wonders. But anybody who – like myself - has ever read a history book about the roughly 2,500 years of Greek history, say from the Battle of Thermopylae through the Ottoman Empire to the Greek War of Independence and the German Occupation, surely will share my doubts… Yes, the Greeks may be a little bad and a little mad, but you cannot beat them when it comes to pride and dignity.

Next Sunday will tell…