Cringing apologies: Blogging, along with almost everything else, has come to a near halt in the last three days as we bravely battle against a blast of 'global warming' - about bloody time, too! - and as temperature levels rose so, equally, energy levels dropped. Still, you know me, never give in and all that sort of thing, and time and time again I summoned up every ounce of will-power and managed from the depths of my sun-lounger to reach out and lift a glass of chilled Languedoc wine to my parched lips. God, I'm good!
Mind you: As any true Brit will delight in telling you, it doesn't do to be too cheerful. Yesterday was the Summer solstice so there are now only 186 shopping days to Christmas!
Creepy coincidences #376,281: There are so many of these creepy coincidences I have lost count. However, I am obliged to Charles Moore in The Spectator for this example of perhaps the creepiest of the lot:
Another startling fact from the Great War, or rather, from just before it. The car in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand drove through Sarajevo 70 years ago next week bore the following number-plate: ‘A111118’ — the date of the Armistice more than four years later.
'His eyes are dim they cannot see': But, one wonders, when next week the 'Kaiserin' pulls the hidden levers and the muppets of Europe vote in Mr. Juncker as the new 'President' of Europe against Dave's wishes, will he, at last, see and understand that Britain counts for nought in diese neue Frankenreich and in fact most of the other European muppets are secretly rather tickled at any opportuunity to poke a British prime minister in the eye with a sharp stick. Perhaps, just perhaps, this will be enough to open his dim-witted eyes to the 'bleedin' obvious' that he is never going to get anything much in the way of concessions to his efforts to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the Frankenreich. Or, perhaps, it will be our dim-witted eyes that are finally opened to the possibility/probability (you choose) that he knew it all along and he doesn't mind that much because in reality he wants us to stay in the EU no matter what!
Ah, perhaps this is the reason: I have just finished chatting to 'SoD' on the 'phone and I mentioned that one thing that puzzled me - well, there's plenty more but I meant one thing in particular - was the price we have to pay in order to sell our 10-year government bonds. As of Friday the rate was 2.76% and that compares with France under a lunatic socialist which only has to pay 1.79%. Spain, which nearly went under a couple of years ago is still marginally cheaper than us at 2.72%, and Italy which in my opinion is technically broke is only paying slightly more expensive rates at 2.94%. And all this whilst the pound soars and everyone croons that the economy has taken off! Well, Isabel Hardman at The Coffee House provides a clue to this conundrum by reporting that government borrowing - austerity, what austerity? - has gone up yet again. Osborne borrowed $0.7bn more last month than this time a year ago! Needless to say, the national debt continues to grow like Topsy!
And if you want to know why: That is, why George Osborne is borrowing so much then look no further than this graph courtesy of Fraser Nelson at The Coffee House which shows government spending from 1956 to 2018
The little dip - blink and you'd miss it - at the far top right was in 2011/12, so that really, really, tight-fisted, Tory austerity worked well, then, did it, George?
The American Songbook: It is intensely irritating when the likes of Michael Henderson come along and write what I should have written were I not a great dealer thicker than he is and not nearly so knowledgeable. Even so, I must restrain my irritation and repeat the essence of his words because, dammit, he's spot on! If you are going to teach children music then in amongst the European classics you must find a space to teach the American Songbook:
[T]he Great American Songbook, which was composed, mainly by Jews, on the island of Manhattan between 1927, when Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein wrote Showboat, and 1959, when Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim collaborated on Gypsy.
Showboat began it all because it was the first classic musical, composed by the man, Kern, who did more than anybody to create an authentically American form based on memorable melodies and, with Hammerstein’s words, demotic language. Irving Berlin preceded him; George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers came afterwards. But Kern’s fingerprints are all over the autograph score of the Great American Songbook.
And who could argue with Mr.Henderson's assertion that the very greatest singer of the American Songbook was Francis Albert Sinatra:
Next year the BBC has the chance of a lifetime to do just that, for 2015 will mark an important centenary. Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1915, and he was not just the greatest singer of the American popular song. He was, to many, the greatest singer. At his greatest, during “the Capitol years” of the Fifties, he was the American popular song.
Amen to that!
No more rumbles today