The Slog: This picture was taken, unstaged, at 3.43 pm on Friday 19th April 2013 in Athens, a eurozone capital.
It shows a young Greek male, his arm outstretched to beg…but with a face hidden by the shame of being reduced to such a state. As I passed this hapless figure today – and I have encountered a great many similar sights since arriving here – what struck me was the tragic rigidity of rigor mortis in this quasi-crucifixion: a boy barely mature condemned to living like the Undead. He is a victim of eurocrat hubris and the selfish lies of feral neocon gargoyles – walking obscenities who recognise nothing beyond the business bottom line and the Sovereign banking balance sheet.
At one level, this is just a young kid who deserved better. At another, he represents both a horribly wasted resource for social capitalism….and more fuel for the furnace of extreme and destructive politics.
Throughout this weekend, The Slog will be entirely devoted to showing and explaining a side of Clubmed the Western European business and mainstream press titles seem largely unwilling to examine: the disgraceful tableau of business decimation and social destruction being wreaked by scorched-earth austerity.
CRISIS ATHENS begins tomorrow and will run through to Sunday evening
_______________________The Slog: Friday dawns to give us another of those days when – for me – the chief debate remains, “Is the media-financial-celebrity complex mad or cunning or both?”
Smacking fashionistas with red meat is wrong, a new study suggests
In Atlantic magazine, Stephen Fried, the bloke who allegedly came up the word ‘fashionista’, has apologised for creating a ‘word of terrifying power and controversy’. Until he turned guilty, I hadn’t noticed. Mr Fried will not be writing much in the near future as he requires complex ‘inside-out’ surgery after going up himself.
A study has ‘found’ that smacking does children no harm as long as they know it is for the right reasons and feel loved. The report (published in the journal Parenting: Science and Practice) ‘found’ that the painful effects of harsh discipline – such as verbal threats or spanking – are offset by the child’s feeling of being loved.
Nothing has been ‘found’ here beyond a small sliver of common sense that fell behind the sofa cushions thirty years ago.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is being urged to move on from modernisation of the Conservative Party and emulate Thatcher by offering “red meat” policies. Accordingly, next week the entire Cabinet will move onto a strict diet of steak tartare, and Chancellor George Osborne is to begin a concerted programme of throwing calves at bond traders, in order to distract them from Britain’s dearth of food, exports, viable banks, jobs and economic strategy. All backbenchers asking questions about the Government’s crackdown on underclass families will be eaten by Eric Pickles, and the ground bones exported to China ready for repackaging as virility tonics.
“Sales of white powder are already doing well in Shanghai,” Lord Green commented, “and this new addition to our Chinese Walls brand will at least halve the national debt by 2002″.
Canadian banker Mark Carney, the incoming Bank of England Governor, has described the UK as a “crisis economy”, admitting in turn that the Relief of Mafeking should not be taken as a sign that the worst is now over for Britain. Mr Carney sought to play down hopes that he could ride to the country’s rescue, instead claiming, “Look, I’m just here to convince the markets that we’re doing something. Actually I intend to work pretty hard on my golf handicap”. He added that “until the Pound is worth three Congolese lira, we won’t export anything much beyond undiluted fear. Frankly kiddo, you can kiss yer ass goodbye. Say, can we go again on that question?”
Across the water, Cyprus has ‘stunned’ EU officials by ordering a vote in its parliament on the terms of the EU-IMF Troika bailout for the country. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters, “We tried tear gas on the Troika but they didn’t cry, so we brought in some Met Police rubber-bullet launchers and that did the trick. We think they are now paying attention, but if there’s any doubt we shall not hesitate to strap them into seats and play 24/7 loops of Herman van Rompuy’s poetry”.
Stunned into action in due course at the next meeting of the FinMins in October, Troika officials were then dealt a devastating blow when President Alenka Bratušek confirmed that Slovenia is not Cyprus. “This is most irregular,” said EC joint President José Manuel Barroso, “We thought Slovenia was a suburb of Nicosia, but in fact that place is called Kaimaki. It is a mistake anyone could make”. Ms Bratušek said that her country could manage perfectly well without the Troika, and would definitely not be needing a bailout. Until the money runs out, and then it will, but that is an infinity away and there is nothing at all to worry about.
Closer to home – but of course absolutely nowhere near Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, David Cameron or Nick Clegg, his Dad and Leon Brittan – the BBC has finally splashed the news that entertainer Rolf Harris is under suspicion of sex offences allegedly committed before Margaret Thatcher was born, but probably not in the period since her death. Everyone else knew this last November. The BBC has yet to confirm the venue for Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, but a spokesman told The Slog, “Rest assured that we shall leave every stone unturned in our bid to help Parliament distract Britain from the 24/7 care-home child buggery that went on in Elm House Barnes from 1391 until 1998″.
And finally, a snippet from south-eastern Europe. When the Troika comes to Athens, its representatives stay at The Hilton. A single room there costs €320.22 per night. The average for smart hotels in the city is €60-80.
The Slog is in Athens, talking to opinion leaders. Stay tuned.