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The Last Few Weeks Of 2016

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective, and World Affairs

Advent calendars have been opened, and the celebrity death toll of 2016 increases. Yesterday, Andrew Sachs, who was known as the slapstick Manuel in Fawlty Towers died aged 86. Very few comedy shows make me laugh, but this was one of them and his catchphrase of ‘I know nothing’ ,(imagine a pidgin Spanish accent) is one that I use when I want blame averted.

In the world of sport, Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula One after winning the title less than a week ago aged 31. I have to say I am not surprised, but also disappointed in that the champion is someone who hasn’t got the passion to defend his title. I’ve been following the sport for a couple of decades, and the masters such as Fangio, Clark, and Senna were last seen with the likes of Häkkinen and Montoya. These days the drivers lack passion and sportsmanship, and Rosberg personifies that. He just wanted to tick the title off his list and then leave. Of course he has every right to do that, but I imagine the history books will think less of him. The old chestnut in that he wishes to spend time with his family doesn’t garner much sympathy—besides being incredibly wealthy, his job was a choice of something he chose to do for fun. There are millions of men who serve in the army or work away from home to provide for their families for years and miss out on their children growing up, so I have no sympathy for Rosberg at all.

It hasn’t been reported much, but tomorrow there is an Italian referendum where Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister has said he will resign if the vote doesn’t go his way. I’m a little perturbed with politicians asking for what people think, and then abandoning them when they don’t agree with them. Cameron did that when the UK decided to leave the EU, and now Renzi wants to change the Constitution. What is more telling, is that in Italy polls are not allowed in the latter stages of a referendum, and that is wise given that the media can use this to influence voters. Is the EU cracking up? It has been for a long while, but no one wanted to admit it.

As the Electoral College votes draw ever closer, the US is divided yet further. Trump has mounted a campaign to block the recounts that Jill Stein and The Green Party have instigated. Then Wisconsin upped the recount fee, and why oh why are people afraid of a recount. I hear whimpers of ‘it’s a waste of time and money…’ but surely if there has been fraud, then time and money should not matter. Only those who have anything to hide would oppose a recount. It’s like telling the auditor not to bother with their job, and that they are wasting their time. How many tax audits have resulted in fines, and uncovered fraud?

Next week the UK government will be in the Supreme Court to state their case as to why they have the power to trigger that elusive Article 50, while Tony Blair threatens a return to politics. Many feel (and I concur) that he is a war criminal that was protected by his position in the government; he lied to his own cabinet, Parliament, and the people and that led to loss of many unnecessary deaths. No one wants to hear what he has to say, and the media should not give him any forum to voice his thoughts.

On a final note, Zac Goldsmith resigned from the Conservative Party and triggered a by-election in Richmond Park, all over the Heathrow expansion. He gambled and stood as an Independent, and lost to the Liberal Democrats. Sarah Olney, who only joined the party 18 months ago won. While the Lib Dems crow they are back, one can only look at the deluded. They claim it was a protest vote to Brexit, but unless they asked the 23,000 voters, how do they really know? Why the Conservatives, and UKIP didn’t field a candidate, who knows, but I hardly see it as a rise of the Liberal Democrats. Maybe if the other two parties had candidates then the result could have been different? Perhaps they had no faith in Goldsmith who resigned on a whim, which he calls a promise to oppose the Heathrow expansion.

I’ve always had doubts over his political intentions, and as his father was always an independent, it came as no surprise that he chose that route too. I do have an issue with those with inherited wealth playing at being a politician, because they don’t represent the people, and don’t see it as a career and go back to their charity work and don’t have to worry about paying the bills. A resignation should only come when there is no alternative, and there was—he could have stayed and fought, or done more to get a better deal for those affected. Looking at the results, it appears many voters chose the Lib Dems as there was no other choice, and Labour voters chose to back them too to prevent Goldsmith from winning. It’s called a tactical vote, something the American voters should have learnt. While I admire integrity, it can lead to a loss of power, and the opportunity to have your voice heard. One wonders how many more celebrities will survive 2016, and are people hoping one particular American will join the obituary list?

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