Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

DINOSAUR: Modern Times

In Dinosaur on March 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

dinosaurThe Bonus culture:

Aren’t bonuses brilliant? You work in a London bank for a nice salary – and then you have it topped up for you at the whim of the bank’s directors. Indeed, you can end up with even more than double your salary – if you’re lucky.

And the beauty of it is that it’s got no connection with how much money you’ve made for the bank – or, indeed, how much money’s been…er… how shall I put it? .. mislaid. It’s their way of saying thank you , just for being there. And it pays for the new Porsche and one or two little extras. So let’s lay in another crate of bubbly and celebrate!

And, of course, since your bank got bailed out by the taxpayers, it doesn’t even have to make a profit to give you that bonus. It’s a kind of incentive, we’re told. A sort of encouragement to carry on doing what you’d been doing during those heady days before it all fell apart.

Well, so much for the bonus culture, which seems so ingrained in the banking system that this particular dinosaur wonders whether he should just stash his cash in a tin box under his bed. But financiers and even politicians seem wedded to it. The world of investment banking seems to exist in a bubble, divorced from the reality of life as lived by the rest of us.

Surely it’s time to burst that particular bubble.

Celebrating the slaughter:

It’s difficult to get to grips with exactly how Michael Gove wants us to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War. He’s denounced such “negative” images as those shown in the musical Oh What a Lovely War or that portrayed in the final instalment of Blackadder. By implication he seems to see us fighting to defend democracy, free speech – and our British way of life – whatever that may be.

In fact in 1914, less than half the population had the vote (about 40 per cent, I believe). “Free Speech” became an expensive commodity as the war progressed. It’s always one of the first casualties of war. And even today historians are arguing about what actually caused the war to erupt.

It became effectively a war of attrition – with generals in charge still using the tactics of the Boer War. If it had lasted longer might well have become a case of “last man standing”. It had a devastating impact on an entire generation. It led to the collapse of four imperial powers, and ultimately to the era of dictators and demagogy across Europe.

So are we going to see displays of the iconic poster bearing the words “Your Country Needs You”? Are the organised tours of the war cemeteries going to be accompanied by sanitized homilies on how the dead gave their lives for us all? Maybe we could have an allocation of white feathers for those who wish to hand them out to folk with a more cynical take on the conflict. Or would that be going too far?

Perhaps. A rather more sober, maybe even sombre, approach is needed, Mr Gove.

A punishment from above:

It must be difficult at times keeping control over a party that seems to have more than its normal share of fruitcakes – whilst at the same time trying to claim the same level of sanity as the rest of us.

I’m talking about UKIP of course, that collection of oddities that wants to take us out of the European Union, close the drawbridge and put paid to all those Romanians and Bulgarians that are poised to flood in, in an ever increasing trickle.

The latest member to raise his head above the parapet is a UKIP councillor from Henley-on-Thames. He’s declared in an interview on his local radio station that the wet and windy weather that we’ve been enduring is a sign that God disapproves of Government legalisation of gay marriages.

David Sylvester (a former Tory turned UKIP) said that we had been “beset by storms” since Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”. Now an embarrassed Nigel Farage has decided to suspend Mr Sylvester.

He also added that all candidates standing for UKIP in the Euro-elections in May are being vetted – and five of its sitting MEPs won’t be standing again. Well, no doubt that’ll weed out those who openly declare their belief in “Bongo Bongo land.”


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