Sunday 30 November 2008

Hell and High Water

I feel as if I ought to be saying something about the Damian Green affair - Bryan has - but, as so often these days, I'm so comprehensively aghast that I can barely articulate anything. Indeed my reaction to most of what this government is doing could best be summed up not in words, but in a sound - in that spontaneous gasping whoosh of incredulity that erupted in the Commons when Darling unveiled the full depth of the debt abyss he was digging for future generations. It's as if Brown now has a tactic of unleashing policies so jaw-droppingly preposterous and pursuing actions so breath-takingly deplorable that opponents - inded any sane person looking on - are struck dumb with appalled incredulity. With Mandelson and Campbell egging him on, he seems to be acting like a madman, willing to do anything to cling on to power. One can only hope that, being madness, it will prove self-destructive in the end - but, when power is finally prised from his tenacious grip, we taxpayers, God help us, will be left to pay the bills after he's trashed the place.
Never mind - the good news is that the lovely picture blog Venice Daily Photo is up and running again, after a six-month absence in Rome - and it's acqua alta time. And The Onion has yet more sound evidence of the beneficial effects of booze. (While you're there, check out the Magritte story too...)


  1. The similarities between Britain's administration and the plot of The Wire grow ever closer.
    I can't look at photo's of Venice without remembering how much that robbing sod of a gondolier charged us. Best visited via a web cam I guess, won't burn a hole in you pocket, no nasty smells being the other bonus.
    Maybe too close to the truth, offspring mixed with booze, although the same can be said of the rest of us.

  2. Wishing you had Mad King George back? Or we can give you one of our Georges, if you want a shrubbery.

    Totally agree with you about Venice, Malty. I'm from a down-at-heel tourist mecca (Florida) and Venice smelled like the water at Disney's "It's a Small World" and cost way more.

  3. Susan, head East ASAP, have you seen the pound dollar exchange rate?
    Plus you can buy two cars for the price of one.

  4. Dear me - the thing about Venice is that it's the most beautiful city in the world (and these days barely smells at all). The gondolas are a racket, strictly for the Japs and Arabs now - and the most popular streets around San Marco and the Rialto are best avoided (not least on grounds of cost). Also it's not worth 'doing' San Marco or the Doges' Palace - or even the Accademia - if your time is limited. Cross to the Dorsoduro and explore there, and/or head for the Fondamente Nuove in the other direction - visit the Frari, Scuola di San Rocco, Madonna dell'Orto, S Zanipolo and any of the lesser churches you come across as you wander. Save the Piazza and the Piazzetta for the evening, or best of all the very early morning... There is nothing like Venice for sheer concentrated beauty of buildings and setting (and paintings) - and no cars! Dang I must go back...

  5. What a pleasant, sane and as you say lovely blog Venice Daily Post is. Thanks for the link. I'm with you all the way on Broon. It sounds very English, but I can imagine most people being prepared to shake hands with Thatcher or Major. I can imagine a few - not many - who would still be prepared to shake hands with Blair even after Iraq. But I can't imagine anyone other than the most adject party hack being prepared to go anywhere near the foul paw of Broon should it ever be stretched in their direction.

  6. I am so with you on this, Nige. One needs to make repeated trips to Venice, preferably in the first half of October when it's still warm but not as frantic with people. One of my absolutely favourite places is the Scuola Grande di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. Carpaccio's St George and the Dragon with all the decomposing, half-eaten body parts horrified and fascinated me when I was small. It is a bewitching city.

  7. Absolutely Sophie - and last time I was in that Scuola, I had the place to myself. It's so easy to avoid the crowds and unpleasantness in Venice - you can shake it all off in a few minutes walking in the right direction. How I wish I was there now....

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