Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Chlorine chicken, GM soya, Cheez Wizz and 32oz steaks

Any UK visitor returning from a first trip to the USA came back with food stories. These used to be about quantity - 'All you can eat for $1', regular steaks at 16oz and large at 32oz, piles of pancakes, syrup and bacon strips for breakfast and so on. We were simply astounded at the cheapness and largeness of portions. Then there is the novelty of a manufactured ersatz cheese in an aerosol, and a slight 'Ergh!' at Americans forced to eat GM Frankenstein food and chlorinated chicken. And there you have the British stereotype of American food. Fried chlorine chicken and GM white gravy in the South, hormone and antibiotic saturated factory beef in the North. And each meal triple the entire daily calorie count. 

Friends came home from a US road trip last week, reprising a trip they made seventeen years ago. They were not happy. Everything - food, accommodation, car hire - was no longer cheap. Portions were no longer huge. The $1 breakfast had gone. Cars were smaller and more ... European. And while poor blacks still consumed vast quantities of fried chlorine chicken, the rest of the US had moved upscale. Above all, the real US was absolutely nothing like the box-set US they had expected from watching seventeen years of US serials and soaps. Everything in reality was somehow less American and more global.  

Well, that's trade and globalism. I have no fears that a UK - US trade deal will impose on Britain the stereotype foods of two decades ago. For sure, if our own blacks want fried chicken at £1 for two pieces, imported chlorine chicken is the way to go, but unless it's also Halal it won't crowd out the supermarket shelves. And Waitrose won't stock it. That's consumer choice. 


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Germans upset and confused as EU Panzer thrust runs out of steam

It really wasn't supposed to be like this. Brussels has a clear plan of exactly how the negotiations should go; First, they set out what the result of the negotiations will be. Then secondly they use a variety of methods to belittle, demoralise and shake the incapable British delegation. Thirdly, Britain must comply absolutely with the EU timetable, do homework as it is set and produce documents and agreements on demand and in the order laid out by Brussels. Only if the EU's negotiation plan is strictly adhered to can an orderly Brexit be achieved. 

But there is a problem. The EU's massive armoured thrust has over-extended itself and has run out of steam; the British have just stood aside to allow it to pass and closed ranks again. We haven't handed in our homework as ordered. We haven't agreed to stuff as we were supposed to. The Federasts thought we would be crawling by now - but instead David Davis and his team seem to grow in confidence by the day, their position clear and firm. We are willing to make concessions if the EU make equivalent concessions in return. We are ready to negotiate. Our team have this power - but it's turning out that Herr Barnier has not. 

There is also a rule in negotiations that one always keeps a tier or two clear of the fray - cooler heads, not too close to the battle, who can maintain a quiet dialogue if needed. David Davis has successfully cast himself in this role, leaving the muppets such as 'Shagger' Johnson to hurl barbs at the Federasts to stand aloof himself from the fray. Sadly, Herr Barnier has failed to do the same - meaning Davis' recourse must be to Herr Juncker. But the biggest problem is that Herr Barnier has absolutely no freedom to negotiate; he's been ordered to achieve the assault's objectives by T+7, T+21 and so on and forbidden from retreating one millimetre, even to 'straighten the line'. 

And today as the EU's assault runs out of steam, the German car manufacturers are the first to break ranks and voice their nervousness. We need to continue the terms of the single market for a lengthy transition period, they whine; our car sales in the Reich are down by 3.4% this year already, we can't take a Brexit hit on top without job losses and plant closures.  

Well, fair enough. That suits us all. So long as they don't expect a penny of British tax money to prop up their failing empire beyond 2019. All they have to do now is to give Herr Barnier some authority to negotiate.   

Friday, 21 July 2017

We internet veterans have seen it all before ...

Many seasoned web users will recall when Netscape Navigator was the browser to have, when your modem had to dial the BT internet number, usually managing to connect after about six tries, when newsgroups were the means of downloading huge 56k jpg pics, sometimes downloading an entire image in fewer than ten minutes. Your modem would drop the connection every hour or so, and data lines were so congested that even a page of plain HTML 1.0 text would take several minutes to load. 

So the dire state of the web today - the results of a mash between secure browsers, greedy Flash, ad-blockers and the attempts of commercial sites to overcome them, is really nothing new. The Telegraph crashes Firefox every other time I load it, one can't watch a streaming video and look at the Evening Standard at the same time (browser locks) and the machine sends at least three crash reports a day back to Firefox HQ.  

Even Blogger is becoming unusable - capcha routines that frustrate participation and make commenting a chore, and unexplained faults that just freeze the screen (oops - there's another one!).

Is this all some great plan to get us out in the open more? Because really I'm as brown as a nut already from working outside and graft hard on house renovation during all the lighter hours. C'mon computer folks - the internet wasn't made for mono-tasking. We're quite capable of placing an eBay order, watching the news and making backgammon moves on the same screen at the same time - so sort yourselves out. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Unimaginative Federasts trying to repeat Greek treatment

Dreary and unimaginative Brussels Federasts are keeping true to form - and are repeating every one of the dirty tricks used on Greece and as described by Yanis Varaufakis. Do these tedious little Eurocrats really have nothing else in their toolbox?

The Telegraph carries a report that details the dirty dealings. First, the outrageous gangster demands and the bullying to agree them. Then a total refusal to provide fiscal and legal justification. Then threats to unilaterally suspend the talks unless the UK agrees to their demands. All to a background of propaganda fed to the Remoaner press that the UK 'isn't coping' - a meme that has gulled even the gifted.

The grubby Federasts even appear to use photo opportunities to try to wrong-foot the UK. However, we have many years of watching our national football team deal with this sort of tactical dirty play from johnny foreigner, and every football-watching Brit will see the sly shin-kicks, ball handling and shoulder-barging for what it is.

So, second session in and I remain hopeful. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Has Brit Brexit strategy has got Brussels on the back foot?

The next Brexit negotiations resume tomorrow - with an increasingly nervous Brussels starting to whine that David Davis and his team are not following their rules. The EU has already published a whole series of comprehensive position papers in damning detail and is starting to realise too late that this may not have been the best idea. 

The Federasts imagined that they would dominate the whole process to the extent that we would have no choice but to fall in with their programme, but so far what we have done is largely to question the basis of their published positions; what exactly are the legal grounds on which they make their grasping financial claims? How precisely have these sums been calculated?

We have responded to their citizenship / movement proposals but they say we don't go far enough. Shrug. However, having now published their own comprehensive proposals, they can hardly row back on promised rights; to do so would be to appear unbearably spiteful. So they're stuck. 

They simply can't accept that this is a bi-lateral negotiation and we're an equal player in the game, with our own plan and agenda. Our refusal to obey their rules has got them on the back foot, and a nervous and unstable Brussels is starting to aim bitter barbs at Britain. I can find nothing so far for which to criticise David Davis and his team. 

If we get a petulant Federast temper tantrum tomorrow evening, it will be a good indication that things are going well.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Desperate Federasts dig up Blair again

No sooner has Bloody Blair settled back in his casket then desperate Federasts have wielded flying shovels to dig him up again. The publication of the Great Repeal Bill has brought it home to the die-hard remoaners that we really are leaving; Tim Farron, who can now use his child's Oyster Card again on the buses, the egregious 'Lord' Adonis (an American nickname, surely, like those given to black jazz musicians?) and now the late Mr Barrister Tony Blair all seem to be moronic enough to imagine the UK could have another referendum, just in case we've changed our minds.

The Late Mr Blair now claims that Herr Juncker and Herr Verhofstadt are willing to crawl naked down the central corridor of Westminster Palace and kiss the Speaker's bare arse if only the UK reconsiders her decision to take £10bn a year away from the Evil Empire. 

This desperation is risible. Guys, go and put Mr Barrister Tony Blair back in his casket and cover him up again.

Friday, 14 July 2017

EU's destruction of European food quality and cultivars

Young Alois, my Bavarian sparky, threw the last of his lunch away in disgust. "This apple tastes crap." Well, yes. They don't do South African or New Zealand apples here, so it was last year's, and since Austrian agriculture has been 'modernised' would likely be one of just half a dozen long-season high-cropping cultivars now grown and sold from Aberdeen to Athens. Yes, the EU means you can walk into a supermarket anywhere in Europe and buy the same variety of tasteless, textureless apple of uniform size and condition, and up to three years old. 

The same goes for tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes and virtually all of the greengrocery shelves. Milk and dairy quality remains superb, but rather for freshness than taste. You need to visit the bi-weekly farmers' markets to buy real, quality fresh fruit and veg here - or drive forty minutes across the border to the nearest Italian market town. Austria has sleepwalked into the same corporatist hell of consistent mediocrity that has destroyed British horticulture. 

It's not just the EU - it's the power of advertising, fear of uncleanliness and the triumph of the global petrochemical corporates. There's also a Disneyfication of what the natural environment should look like. I am insistent that the environment starts with flies; flies that cluster around cow stalls, thrive on dung and hug the meadows. Fly catchers such as the black redstarts now raising their second brood of the year in my rafters can get through 1.2kg of flies in a season; my cheeky wall-lizards, majestic fire salamanders, graceful grass snakes and adventurous slow-worms and all the other reptiles and amphibians sharing my space here all depend on insects / invertebrates. Once you get rid of your domestic livestock - two cows in the stalls, a pig in its sty, chickens in the yard, maybe a goat or two - you also lose the richness of your reptile and amphibian life. But such things, like outside lavvies, are considered too 'peasant', not consistent with the sophistication of a two-tonne 4x4 with chrome bull bars and a set of brown plastic wicker garden chairs.  

As I write, from my study window I see in the meadow below a roe hind has brought her two fauns from the copse to graze. The meadows are alive with a procession of butterflies, each type appearing in turn as its particular flowers come into bloom, more types of butterfly than I ever saw in a lifetime in England, but here the meadows are unsprayed, chem-free and with a riot of wild flowers that it takes five grand and the Chelsea flower show to achieve in the home counties. 

So the news that Germany is demanding that French agriculture 'modernises' is really not good news for anyone in Europe who values food quality. The only problem with French agriculture is that the farmers think it's their right to be rich. It really isn't. But their refusal to take steps that could 'rationalise' French cheese to six standard types and allow bread factories to sell extended-life baguettes for 14 days after baking is wholly commendable.

Austria has lost her native universal food quality, victim to the EU and the corporates. Only Romania and Bulgaria still maintain sustainable, environmentally good agriculture with a richness of taste and variety, largesse of produce and quality of life - and the manufacturers of EU subsidised tractors and cheap-lease heavyweight 4x4s are already moving in, the horses already on their way to the knacker. 

The EU's hatred of sustainable agriculture will destroy our environment