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Sunday, June 10, 2012


Law and Order!

There is a very personal side to The Great Economic Crisis that is encapsulating the whole of the developed world. When we hear the talking heads on television they deal with the statistical side of things, but the human cost is much, much more serious.

Before 2008, world economies were ticking along nicely and people were hard at work. All was well with the world, but then the chickens came home to roost. The first human cost is when you are called into the office of your boss and given your walking papers. That is a great shock, but when it transpires that there are no replacement jobs then the depression really sets in. The children must be pulled out of their private schools, and your own austerity program has to be put in motion.

When the benefits run out, and both parents are out of work, and there is no more money coming in, you start selling whatever you can to convert things into cash. We have seen a number of kiosks spring up offering to buy your gold items. This is when you realise how over the market you paid for your sparkling treasures; or that the price you are being offered is an attempt to rip you off.

Meanwhile, everything around you that is absolutely necessary to have seems to be going up in price, such as electricity, petrol, and food.

Then you reach rock bottom and realise that you cannot pay the next mortgage payment due, or the rent, and you are being threatened with eviction. Here in Spain, it has been reported that about 500 evictions are taking place per week. These are people who are thrown out into the street, or, if they are lucky, family will take them in to provide a roof over their heads. Retired grandparents are becoming critically important because they have a small state pension. That is used to buy food that can be shared among the family.

Desperation has now set in, and desperate people do desperate things. Burglaries have soared across the country, and in some cases the same house will have been broken into several times. The notion of private property seems to be a thing of the past. Now, it appears that if I have it, and someone else needs it, he will simply take it. They don't even seem to care whether they are caught by the police, perhaps because in jail they are fed and housed and given clothes to wear.

So many people caused our problems while they got rich through bonuses, and they  simply walked away without having to answer for their crimes.

What a strange world we live in!

Copyright (c) 2012   Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II

Queen Elizabeth II
Coronation Day, 1952

Monarchies are peculiar things. They were created a very long time ago, so, in our time we were simply born under the system, and when the ruling monarch died, the successor simply moved into place on the throne. We, the people have nothing to say about the matter.
A presidential system is far better, but only provided that it follows the American system of automatic term limits. Good presidents and horrible ones all are limited to one or two terms, and the only way to possibly prolong a really popular president's influence is by electing his vice-president, and then, hope for the best.

History is complete with facts relating to kings who were absolutely awful, and whose reign was felt by all subjects as a very heavy burden. At least, in these times, kings and queens function as titular heads of state, with the business of actually running the country left to prime ministers.

For those of us who are subjects of Her Majesty, either because we are British, or members of the Commonwealth, today, June 3rd is a good day to celebrate 60 years under Queen Elizabeth, II, even if you don't believe in the monarchy. The fact is that we are served by a Monarch, who could have been quite a different person, and our lives might have been very different had she chosen to impose her will upon the masses. Instead, she has played her role to perfection, and we have been comfortable, and proud, under her Reign.  Perhaps others in the Royal household have made mistakes and have caused some embarrassment, but the Queen has not once done anything to really cause her subjects to wince.

There was a difference of opinion as to what she should have done immediately following the death of Diana, but that event was a great surprise, but was made right in the end. So all things considered, we have been very lucky to have been served by such a wonderful and responsible individual, and today is a really good opportunity to demonstrate our good fortune.

It is seldom that we have the chance to be unanimous in agreement. This is one of those times!

Happy Diamond Jubilee, and Congratulations, Your Majesty!

Copyright (c) 2012   Eugene Carmichael