Saturday, December 31, 2011

And a Happy New Euro to everyone

As we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Euro – and let’s hope the damned thing doesn’t exist by this time next year – here’s a festive New Year Eurovision quiz (answers at the end).

1. In 2005, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, an international panel chose the top 10 Eurovision songs of all time. At Number 8 was a song which did not win the contest in 1968. What was the song?

2. What was the name of the song which did win in 1968?

3. Why did La La La win?

4. In the all-time Eurovision Top Ten, what song came in at Number One and who was it by?

5. The first Eurovision Song Contest involved 7 countries. Did the UK take part?

6. Switzerland won at home. Who came second?

7. The 2012 Eurovision takes place in Baku. Where on earth is that?

8. Who was paid a fee of $90,000 for giving one speech in Azerbaijan?

9. Last year, Azerbaijan was condemned for “human rights violations and oppression of opposition forces”. Condemned by whom?

10. Our friends in Europe say we should lose the rebate to the EU. At the moment we are the second-highest net contributor at £4.1 billion. If we lost our rebate, how much would that increase to?

11. An analysis of voting in the Eurovision song contest by Surrey University shows there was “collusive voting” – ie voting for your chums – for six years between two countries, each of which won once during that time. Name the two countries.

12. From 1981 to 1985, there was “collusive voting” between Germany and two other countries. What were they?

13. There has been collusive voting between Cyprus and Greece and Sweden and Denmark. But Sweden’s victory in 1999 depended on three other countries in what became known as the “Viking Empire”. Name two of these countries.

14. There is now a clear Balkan bloc vote which determined the winners in 2003 and 2005. What were the winning nations?

15. In what year did Birmingham stage the contest?

16. Why was the winner, Israel’s Dana International, described as the “most controversial winner in Eurovision history”?

17. How many times has Norway received no points

18. Is Norway a member of the European Union

19. A total of 43 countries took part in the contest in 2011. How many countries are members of the European Union?

20. When did Greece first default on its sovereign debt?

Quiz answers

1. Congratulations by Cliff Richard
2. La La La by Massiel
3. The result was fixed by General Franco
4. Waterloo by Abba
5. No
6. All the others: Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Italy.
7. Azerbaijan
8. Tony Blair
9. The European Parliament
10. £12.4 billion
11. UK and France
12. Israel and Sweden
13. Norway, Iceland and Estonia. Half a mark for Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.
14. Turkey in 2003 and Greece in 2005
15. 1998
16. S/he was a transsexual
17. Ten times
18. No
19. 27
20. Some experts claim the world’s first sovereign default occurred in the fourth century BC when ten city states in the Attic Maritime Association reneged on loans given by the Temple of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Apollo. On the other hand it could be argued that it was in 594 BC precisely, when the poet Solon passed a law cancelling all debt and the enslavement of debtors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Latest BBC rip-off scandal

Scandal of the day: Why and since when has the BBC carried advertising on its news website?
It’s scandalous enough that the corporation is destroying private sector regional news organisations by wasting hundreds of millions on its website.
It is even worse that the lumbering Leviathan is now creaming off advertising revenue to support its abominable nationwide poll tax of licence fee revenue.
I trust our politicians will address this question urgently.
In view of the comment below, please note: I did not view the website from abroad (unless you call Scotland "abroad"; I was in Edinburgh).

Friday, December 09, 2011

All Cameron has vetoed is a referendum

The BBC claims: “PM David Cameron has effectively vetoed an EU-wide treaty change to tackle the eurozone crisis, saying it was not in the UK's interests.”

That’s not what he’s done.

All he has done is avoid being forced to hold a referendum on the EU while allowing the rest of the Eurozone countries to do whatever deals they like irrespective of their impact on Britain.

He has talked tough and grabbed some positive reviews for his “handbagging” of our EU friends.

But he hasn’t prevented the creation of the Superstate and, as it progresses, it will become clear that we can’t continue to be both in and out of the EU.

Eventually we will have to resolve the question on way or the other once and for all.

The only question is whether the Euro collapses before then. Which it probably will.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?

What a marvellous idea – the EU wants to spend £900 million of our money on a computer to forecast future disasters before they hit. This is because the combined efforts of the world’s economists failed to predict the banking crisis or the Eurozone crisis.

They could more than pay for it by sacking all the economists and who cares if the computer gets it all wrong? It will be no worse than the self-styled best brains in our top universities and businesses. And here’s betting EuroHal would never have recommended a single European currency in the first place.

Actually, maybe they should just ask most people in this country what common sense dictates and save all that money they haven’t got.

Raising the bar

Am I alone in looking on the London Olympics as an extravagant nonsense that we simply can’t afford? At £7 million an hour for the opening ceremony alone, it’s a stunning waste of money which will, as usual, benefit only Londoners.

Death to life

When they abolished the death penalty for murder we were promised life would mean life. We all know it can mean nothing more than a couple of years in a cosy cell followed by a new identity and anonymity for life. Now they want to downgrade killing another human being even further. Pretty soon you’ll get longer for posting a Facebook message or tapping a celebrity’s phone than you’ll get for murder.