Happy New Year!

Kung Hee Fat Choi!

At long last – fingers to the keyboard for the first blog post of 2012. Normally my timekeeping is pretty good but I’ve had a lot to deal with at the beginning of 2012 so it’s with apologies that I cite the 5th Amendment and The Pirate Code in my defence, and say it’s better late than never.

I would have got here sooner but events have conspired to keep me occupied. The first was the sad passing away of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Not that I really knew him that well, but I felt it only right to respect the mourning customs of his devoted countrymen and sat down for most of early January for a good grizzle.

I was most impressed with the sincerity and commitment of the North Korean people to the whole concept of bawling your eyes out, so much so, that now I’ve calmed down, I’m considering adding a few conditions to my own last wishes. It’s probably a bit ambitious to have a whole nation burst into tears at my demise but I’d like to think that with a bit of local networking on my part I could get most of Redhill, Reigate and Crawley to break down into uncontrollable sobbing. Further away, let’s say Dorking and Horsham, I’d expect some full-on sniffling but would accept that the people in the far-flung reaches of the Empire, such as Guildford and East Grinstead, would limit themselves to teary eyes and perhaps a runny nose.

I was discussing this idea of mass wailing based on proximity, to my cousin and he, rather unkindly I feel, suggested that by the time the news spread to Camberley there would be bunting and even the chance of a street party. At least you can choose your friends.

The ongoing Eurozone crisis is a constant worry to me. Like most people throughout Europe at the moment, our household is implementing a thorough program of austerity measures aimed at reducing our debt and stimulating growth. This has gone slightly awry, since the only growth I’ve stimulated so far is around my waistband. Fortunately we do not owe a great deal but I am considering asking some of our creditors (British Gas, BT, the local Shell garage, for example) to take a haircut on their bills. Wish me luck.

The Prime Minister is making it clear that he sees small businesses as the engine for growth, so with the need for some financial support as I endeavour to rescue the Economy I shall soon be filling out the application form for some, (not all), of the remaining €400 million in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). I’m not great with forms but may well draw on the experience of previous applicants if some of the requirements are too onerous. When in doubt I shall write “It’s all Greek to me”.

The issue of a referendum on Scotland’s independence has also been on my mind. If the Scottish people decide they do want independence, will that result in a Republic of Scotland? Will there be a President Alex Salmond? Will we be allowed to get shot of winter evenings starting at 4 o’clock? My mind is in turmoil.

Throughout 2012 I will be pleased to offer serious, objective analysis to current affairs and indeed, anything else that comes into my head.

Once again, Happy New Year.

Richard