Cypriot deal hits the right targets
Cyprus pulled back from the brink of Euro collapse last night, as a deal was struck which is likely to see the breaking up of one her biggest banks and a massive levy, of up to 40%, on bank accounts with over €100k.
The pain will be long lasting for Cyprus.
Laiki, the country’s second largest bank, employs 10,000 people and despite the accounts under €100k being guaranteed, there is still likely to be a run on the banks when they fully reopen.
I think the pain unleashed on common working people in various parts of Europe in order to save a doomed common currency is immoral. I would rather see countries do what they are there for – defending their citizens. (more…)
Osborne and my Right-to-Buy
Giveaway George has me left in a quandary.
Despite the constant calls for him to let Britain grow its way out of this never ending downturn, he decided, in this week’s Budget, to put all of his economic eggs into the housing basket.
“Owning your own home is the most basic human aspiration” said Gorgeous Gideon as he explained that, despite saying the cupboards were bare, he had managed to come up with £12bn for his mortgage guarantee scheme, £3.5bn for his Help-to-Buy scheme and £130bn to underwrite mortgages.
He also increased the maximum Right-to-Buy discount for council tenants who want to become home owners from £75k to £100k.
I’ve lived in one council flat or other for almost my entire life.
The flat I live in now, on a slightly grimy Tooting council estate, has been my home for over 20 years. (more…)
Breaking free from Terry’s creepy clutches (Irena unchained)
This is in response to Toby Young’s Spectatorblog
Not a day passes that I am not overjoyed to have broken free from the overbearing self absorbed prick, who treated me as a skivvy for years.
I was an academic in Russia, teaching geology but my life fell apart somewhat with the collapse of communism and I was forced to eek out a living being at the beck and call of a snivelling little man. (more…)
Through whose eyes? white saviours in film
There is an old African saying, made popular again by the excellent Somali rapper K’naan, which says, “Until the lion learns to speak, the tales of hunting will always favour the hunter”. I take this to mean if you are not writing your own history, you can’t be sure that your side of the story will be told.
Last Sunday, I went to the Haymarket to watch The Help, Dreamwork’s adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller which looks at the lives of black maids in 1960s Mississippi. (more…)
When the underbelly roars
I grew up on south London council estates in the 70s and 80s and vividly remember the riots that tore through my city, along with Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and several other parts of Britain with large black communities.
When the first riots hit Brixton in 198, I was 12 years old.
My mates and I came from council estates in Wandsworth, Battersea and Earlsfield and while we were no angels, we certainly couldn’t be described as bad kids. (more…)
How do we solve a problem like Malawi?
Southwark Registry office is right on my doorstep and we often watch the weddings and civil ceremonies from our balcony.
On Saturday there was a gay civil ceremony.
Both grooms were young, handsome and black – one West Indian, one African.
It got me thinking about the awful ruling in Malawi last week when a gay couple was jailed for 14 years’ hard labour for being gay and trying to get married.
The Malawian judge, Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa, stated quite clearly that he was handing down such a severe sentence to make a stance against homosexuality. (more…)
Thinly veiled threat to freedom
The new laws could be in place by the summer and are causing a stir in Muslim communities world wide even though many Muslim women don’t wear veils.
Only around 2,000 French women wear veils in public out of a Muslim population of 5 million, but to many the move must feel like an attack on all of Islam.
President Nicolas Sarkozy brought in the change because he sees the burqa and niqab as signs of women’s oppression rather than religious garments.
Ever since the forming of the republic in 1789, France has been keen to keep religion and state separate. (more…)
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s historic Walk to Freedom.
I remember watching with tears in my eyes as the former ANC leader walked out of prison after 27 years and into the history books.
It was a moment that hadn’t seemed possible in those dark days of the 1980s when the Government under Thatcher refused to back sanctions as she believed they would hurt the poor black majority more than the rich white minority. (more…)
I’ve just returned to work from a fortnight in Jamaica.
My mother’s from there so we spent a lot of time with family.
In an eventful trip I gave my Mum away at her wedding and gave the remembrance speech at my Grandmother’s funeral – unfortunately she just died before we got a chance to see her.
Even in a country that is financially challenged, our family are pretty poor.
Many of them live in the hilly region of the island close to Christiana in a community of self-built shacks and houses with temperamental electricity and sporadic water supply.
Despite the incredible sunsets and beaches of Negril, the time spent with uncles, aunts, cousins and nieces in the red dirt of central Jamaica was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.
There was an immense feeling of community and I counted around 30 children who seemed to be roaming freely from house to house.
Most there can’t afford healthcare. My uncle showed us how he had removed several of his teeth with pliers and a hot nail (and a large amount of (more…)
Papa Don’t Preach
Defending hetrosexuality is as important as saving the rain forests, according to Pope Benedict XVI.
The Pontiff, speaking in his holiday address, said that the distinction between men and women was central to human nature and asked that, “asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected”.
So for the Catholic church, Christmas really is a time of good will to all men (as long as they are straight) and women (as long as they know their place). (more…)