Postcard from India – monumental bank note upheaval

cow-mini-market in Goa by Paul Walter
Paul Walter is now back at home. As is often the case, this postcard arrived after the sender returned to Blighty!

We’ve had an enrapturing holiday in Goa, India. The welcome from the Goan people was wonderful. The beauty of the place was breathtaking.

By coincidence, we arrived just a couple days after a major monetary change by the government. To wrong-foot terrorists and criminals, there has been a monumentally huge exercise called “demonetisation”, going on across this, the second most populous nation in the world. All the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes have been withdrawn from circulation at two hours’ notice.

In the Times of India, Santosh Desai wrote: “86% of the currency in circulation becomes illegal virtually overnight”. That relates to an estimated $210 billion worth of money notes. $210 billion! That is a mind-boggling figure. Continue reading

Great Henry Mancini track on Pick of the Pops

Well done BBC Radio 2, Pick of the Pops and Paul Gambaccini!

Last Saturday’s Pick of the Pops 1964 half was a real corker. Often the programme throws up great tracks which aren’t played much these days.

Henry Mancini’s “How soon?” was really fantastic to hear. Yes, a bit schmaltzy and MOR (Middle of the road), but it hit the spot with me….

The Great Gambo said it was the theme from the TV series “The Richard Boon show”, which is in the second box below and looks like a laugh a minute…

We need to stop the drift towards self-destruction

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It is more in sorrow than anger that I review the events of the last few days.

And if you want sorrow rather than anger done beautifully, then watch this wonderful piece of James O’Brien’s LBC show. He patiently asks why the caller asked for British law administered in Britain by British judges but is now angry about British law administered in Britain by British judges. Continue reading

Phew! Thank goodness for the High Court ruling

Today’s High Court ruling is quite a relief.

Up until now, the government’s approach to Article 50 has been rather like that of a load of drunks in a speeding train carriage, intent on pulling the emergency cord to jump off the train in the middle of nowhere.

To embark on Article 50 without parliamentary consensus, and with a confused government position, would have been disastrous for this country’s interests.

The High Court ruling is based on the key constitutional principle that parliament only decides UK domestic law. By invoking Article 50 via royal prerogative, the government would have been ending all the rights for British citizens inherent in the 1972 European Communities Act.

That is not pedantic hair-splitting. It is big stuff. The sort of stuff which, in the past, led to a king losing his head and the country being riven by a bloody civil war.

But it really is key not to see this in terms of a parliamentary attempt to thwart the will of the people as expressed on June 23rd. I believe that decision will be respected by parliament.

The majority voted to leave the EU. But there was no detail in that advisory referendum as to the when and the how. That is where parliament comes in, to use its skills as our representatives to put the UK on the road to getting the best deal and the best route forward.

And thank goodness for that. The government have given confused and dangerous signals about how it intends to proceed with Brexit.

Parliament needs to be involved to ensure that when we get off the EU train, we have a platform to step out onto.

We must all examine our consciences regarding mobile phones in cars

geograph-3292071-by-david-dixonIt’s a local stretch of the A34 I know well. On August 10th we were all stunned and horrified by the terrible accident which occurred there, as reported by the Guardian:

A lorry driver who killed a woman and three children when his vehicle ploughed into their stationary car while he was scrolling through music on his mobile phone has been jailed for 10 years.

Tracy Houghton, 45, her sons, Ethan, 13, Josh, 11, and stepdaughter, Aimee, 11, died instantly when Tomasz Kroker drove his lorry into their car at 50mph. Their car was shunted underneath the back of a heavy goods vehicle and crushed to a third of its size. Continue reading

Article 50 ruling follows a monumental misjudgment by Theresa May

It is difficult not to see today’s High Court ruling as anything other than a disaster for Theresa May. The first big decision she made as PM turns out to have been a monumental misjudgment. She has been ruled out of order and, unless an appeal is successful, she’ll have to go cap in hand to Parliament.

Mike Smithson of Political Betting put it very well:

Tim Farron commented: Continue reading