Monday, 3 March 2014

Groundhog Day, German Banks and Baron Greenback


A grim start to the week with the unedifying sight of Messrs Cameron and Salmond arguing over who’s nicer to the oil industry. Cam attempted to trump Salm by staging his jamboree inside the offices of Shell. Greenest government ever, anyone? World-beating climate change targets? Hello? Hello! Is this thing on?

The grimness continued with the news that Harold Ramis crossed the streams and went to the great containment unit in the sky. I do look forward to the day I introduce the Bairn to Ghostbusters, and a few years later Groundhog Day. I might leave her to discover Caddyshack and Animal House for herself.


The flat front tyre saga continues. This time the repairs hold. The culprit? A teeny tiny fragment of glass wedged inside a crack in the inside of the tyre.

Yet my howls of anguish over repeated bike failures were nothing compared to the sturm und drang cacophony that screeched from my TV tonight. Apparently it’s the done thing for our country’s two most senior female politicians to shout at and over each other. Next time I expect to see the moderator produce a pencil and explaining that only the person holding it gets to speak.


RBS posts whopping losses. Trebles all round! Huh? Oh, I see. Bonuses. Musn’t forget the bonuses, dude. In my previous life as a corporate schmoozer I got an annual bonus but it wasn’t huge and it varied depending not only on my performance but that of my department and the wider company. We really were all in it together.

It would be great to see us emulate the German Sparkasse model of local banking. I used Sparkasse when I lived in Germany in the 80s. I was only a kid but recall the thrill of getting pound notes from my Scottish grannies changed into shiny marks and pfennigs. I also once handed over an exotic banknote that came back from a relative’s holiday. I expected untold riches but the inflationary nature of the holiday country’s economy meant I got hardly enough to buy a poke of pommes frites with mayo.


To Peebles! The New Economics Foundations rated the sleepy Tweeddale burgh as the most diverse town centre in Scotland, and that still appears to be the case. There’s hardly a chain store in sight, there are loads of independent shops thriving and even the County Hotel bar is busy with a pub quiz and a fine selection of craft ales. But I don’t have time to savour the Borders hospitality for long, as I’m taking part in a workshop on Scotland’s referendum choices.

It’s hosted by a neutral facilitator and we discuss our aspirations for Scotland. There are Yes, No and Undecideds in the room. Themes emerge over the course of the evening, with many of the No folk bringing up the issue of identity and Britishness, while others talk about UK clout in the world. It’s clear to me if we vote No no-one will pay much attention; if we vote Yes the world will notice and we will have a moment to be big and bold and do great things.


Apparently being big and bold and doing great things includes cutting taxes for an already undertaxed industry. It seems airlines liking the idea of paying less air tax is good news for Yes. World-leading climate targets, anyone? I said… Hang on. Is this my Groundhog Day?


I inflict on myself a severe case of Leafleter’s Knuckle, delivering Green newspapers to some lucky householders in the Honest Toun. My legs are jelly by the end of the session; the constant up and down tenement stairs is agonising. I can’t wait to do it all again next weekend.

The sun is out, it’s the first of March and we go for a stroll on the beach with the Bairn. It does feel like we’ve turned a corner. Has winter passed us by? I feel like we’ve missed a good dump of snow. Maybe it’ll arrive in April or May, followed by a heat wave causing a huge flood. Hope springs…

A luxurious long lie thanks to a late night at some friends where the Bairn and a buddy got to watch two whole Disney movies and the grown ups got to drink wine and play cards.

An impulse visit to the Deaf Dugs charity shop of wonder results in an astounding find. Now, shush! The Bairn and I are reading about Greenback’s evil plan to drain all the oil and cut taxes for big business…

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