Come on guys, I mean I know it’s the ‘summer season’ when there’s not much going on in the world and the media (what used to be known in the UK back in the day as ‘Fleet Street’), bored with nothing worthy to report, traditionally resorted to ridiculous tales of Miami Beach-style heatwaves, skateboarding ducks, Loch Ness monsters and right wing red neck loonies rising to political office in the United States … but let’s get serious!
Yesterday I kept my monitoring eye upon the world’s current affairs and spotted on BBC television a piece about how British universities are crowing with ‘I told you so’ fervour that, post-Brexit, they’re already losing out on millions of pounds’ worth of EU funding, thereby putting at risk not only thousands of academic research jobs, but tens of thousands of ‘connected’ other jobs that would normally be attracted to the UK by so much research going on.
This sort of caper is beginning to irritate me. It’s the equivalent, in the world of soccer, to fans of a team like Arsenal complaining that they used to be on top of the world once but now its all unfair because upstarts like Leicester City are winning all the trophies, getting all the publicity and making all the money. Stuff happens, guys – get over it!
As part of the report one Keele University scientist was filmed climbing up a ladder to look through the ‘sights’ of medium-sized telescope and then giving an interview bemoaning the fact that the project he was working on was now likely to lose its funding because he was part of it. Two subsequent items of reporting slightly detracted from the epic nature of this disaster; firstly, a statement from the EU body that gives out research awards confirmed that funding awarded whilst the UK remained in the EU would be completely unaffected (at least until 2020); and secondly, it was revealed that our ‘disadvantaged’ scientist was working on the terribly important subject of how galaxies on the far side of the universe were formed.
My first response was to wonder why didn’t our hero just shut up and get a proper job, like working to reduce abject poverty in Third World nations and/or saving our NHS?
Then we received a report that the IMF was blaming the UK for the poor medium-term state of the world economy. Apparently Brexit has ‘thrown a spanner in the works’ of a hoped-for spurt in growth, see here – THE GUARDIAN
It wasn’t long before this gem was overtaken by another from the same body – see here as the IMF admits it got it completely wrong, as featured on the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Next up we had the news that, as his wife extends her range as the household breadwinner by publishing her first cookbook, the Lib-Dem politician formerly known as Nick Clegg is making a return to front-line politics just fourteen months after leading his partly to electoral disaster – see here, in THE INDEPENDENT
Hitherto I’d been under the happy but ridiculous delusion that we’d hopefully heard the last of the Cleggmeister and that, well before now, he’d have ridden out of town in a first class Eurostar carriage en route to some EU commissioner’s non-job (£500,000 plus £1,000,000 office expenses plus £250,000 pension on top, all per annum and ad infinitum, natch) – however, maybe at last someone in Strasbourg or Brussels has instigated a form of ‘quality control’ filter/threshold which had so far rendered him persona non grata.
Never mind, Nick, I suspect it’s only a matter of time …
Then there is the worrying situation in Turkey on the back of this ‘failed coup’ – or it is the supposed ‘faked non-coup’ dreamed up by President Tayyip Erdogan as a ruse to allow him to purge the armed forces, universities and Turkish society of those who aspire to live under a Western-style democratic, free, secular, society – i.e. rather than a more traditional, Islam-dominated land in which, of course, only lip service is ever paid to democratic notions and free speech.
Turkey remains in an important position for Europe and NATO. Not only has it been encouraged to believe that, if it continues to make ‘progress’, it might be admitted to EU membership, it is also being paid billions of euros by the EU to act as a ‘buffer/temporary camp’ for the waifs and strays fleeing various Middle Eastern conflicts hoping to make it to safety and new, modern, lives in Europe.
But – er – mainly to keep them out.
Elsewhere Europe and America – still looking from the side lines – are wondering what the hell to do about Turkey. They want Turkey to be stable and solid within NATO, which probably necessarily means in the grip of some sort of dictator or another, simply because (if it was simply down to ‘one man, one vote’) who knows what form of government an Islam-centric Turkey would throw up?
[Meanwhile, of course, the motley crew of Donald Trump advisers and strategists are frantically trying to locate a map of the world to find out just where the hell Turkey is … somewhere to the east of Europe, surely, but not quite as far as Japan, is that right folks?]
Finally on the subject, here’s a piece on the possibility that things might not be all they seem with the news coming out of Turkey. Apparently fourteen Turkish navy ships have gone missing, which may be a signal that the current Erdogan ‘purge’ of Turkish thinking society is perhaps not quite the end of the story – see here, in THE INDEPENDENT
I’m not sure whether all these things – spotted in a single 24 hour sitting – shooting across our bows is a reassuring sign that all is normal and well, or something that we should be getting worried about.
I shall be making myself another pint and a half of Pimm’s at lunchtime today to help with my continued contemplation of what’s going on …