Brexitolene Supply Chain

There is rather mixed news today on the Brexitosis front. The European Medical Agency, which has recently moved from London to Amsterdam, is being a little slow to give final approval to Brexitolene, the new medication.

It is hoped that this obstacle will be removed in the next few days, and that it will be possible to establish a stockpile in a disused, and newly refrigerated, section of Wandsworth Prison. In that case the danger of delay at Dover will be removed, at least temporarily.


Stop Press on Brexitosis

I hear from an eminent Brexitologist (she took time off from a short holiday in The Gambia to reply to my post about #Brexitosis) that a cure may be available much sooner than had been expected.

It seems that a vaccine has been developed in France, and has undergone trials in #Cornwall and #Sunderland. The trials were conducted with great discretion, but I understand that they have been so unequivocally successful that the manufacturers are putting other plans to one side in order to concentrate on producing the new vaccine. It is simple to take, dripped onto a lump of sugar, and one dose is enough.

There are two difficulties. First, the mixture is going to be so expensive that it is unlikely to be approved for prescription on the #NationalHealthService. Secondly, it is not yet known for how long it will stay fresh, even when refrigerated. It is to be produced in France, and there are fears that it may lose its efficacy, if held up at Dover for any significant period.

New Medical Syndrome

This really is a useful concept BREXITOSIS. It can be used to cover a wide range of the disorder from the quite mild to the very severe.

Now that the syndrome has been identified it is up to researchers to categorise its various degrees of severity. A ten point scale will probably be developed, with lists of symptoms commonly associated with each point on the scale.

Don’t Try to Understand

I recently tried to send some desperately needed money from South Africa to friends in #Zimbabwe.

First I tried the bank, #FNB, expecting the transaction to be routine. Not a bit of it.

A helpful clerk looked at my passport, did some paper work, and led me to a machine, from which to send a “Moneygram”. The machine refused.

We went to see a more senior person, a Teller, who pronounced that I had the wrong type of account, which did not match the standard ninety day visitor’s visa in my passport. “Every detail” he rather gleefully told the bewildered clerk, “must be scrutinised.”

I went on to the manager, who was relieved to discover that I had the right type of account, but that, according to the bank’s records, I had once had a temporary residence permit (different from the standard ninety visa) which had now expired. The Moneygram machine had refused to operate because it had noticed the expiry, and was not allowed to send money on behalf of the holder of a tourist visa. Nobody could explain why this prohibition was in place.

I then tried #WesternUnion, taking the required proof of residence, and got another refusal. This time the official explained that the holder of a visitor’s visa was not allowed to send money out of the country without proving that he had first brought it in. The point was to prevent the export of money generated in South Africa. He thought permission might be granted if I could produce a bank statement showing that funds had been brought into the country, but he was not sure. At this point I gave up.

The moral of this tiresome story? Be obedient; don’t try to understand the rules, but accept that “they are for your own protection”; don’t even contemplate helping friends outside South Africa; enjoy being a tourist.

Disappointing Marmite

One of the disappointments of South Africa is that the #Marmite tastes nothing like the British original. It tastes more like #Bovril, and is runny.

This unhappy observation reminds me of 1960, when I was working in HM Consulate-General in Frankfurt. We had access to the American PX, which seemed a palace of luxury to our austerity-accustomed eyes, even fifteen years after the war. But we still needed to be kept afloat by the monthly NAAFI van from Bonn, which used to bring essential supplies of items unknown to the PX: Marmite, #Guinness, #Rose’sLimeJuice and #Gentleman’sRelish.


Dope on Sunday

This morning, at the nursery (plants, not children) in whose cafe I generally have Sunday breakfast when in Cape Town, I spotted labels reading

“Marijuana Grow Bags for Sale, with Instructions”

Church Cuckoo Land

@TimBriden’s report into the most recent batch of allegations (the church authorities call them”information”) against the late @BishopGeorgeBell has naturally been greeted with joy. Briden found that there was nothing in the allegations, and every reaction so far has shown profound relief that this demeaning story is now over.

But it is NOT over because the #Safeguarders, and the @ArchbishopofCanterbury and the @BishopofChichester have again missed the opportunity to say that Bell was not guilty. Instead they have apologised profusely for the failures of their own procedures (which were comprehensively trashed by @LordCarlile) when the church dealt so amateurishly with the FIRST batch of allegations.

Far from bringing the whole demeaning story to a dignified end, the Archbishop bemoans the Church’s “dilemma”, by which he means its inability to achieve certainty that events alleged to have occurred over sixty years ago did not occur in fact. The Bishop of Chichester adds that “we have all been diminished”. It is obvious that some in high office have indeed been diminished, but who does he mean by “all”?

Briden is to be congratulated for having kept a straight face. A lesser man would have jibbed at investigating the clearly insubstantial allegations listed in his terms of reference and it must have taken forbearance to accept the very severe limitation of being precluded from revisiting “Carol’s” original complaints.

Instead he has meticulously looked into allegations which in ordinary life would scarcely merit a glance, and has studiously subjected the “information” put before him to scholarly inspection.

The remark by the Archbishop which is most widely regretted, and which he has still not withdrawn, was that a cloud still (after the Carlile report) hung over Bell’s reputation, so perhaps this morning’s blog should have been entitled “cloud cuckoo land.”

Violence in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean prices of basic commodities have lately risen very sharply, and protests have been widespread. Internet providers in Zimbabwe have been ordered to close, and would risk losing their licences if they refused, so cheap and secure communication has become impossible.

That said, it seems that the stories of protest turning into massive looting are true. I have been able to study a video of a shopping centre (where the friend who showed it to me does his shopping) and in which the shops were completely emptied. The boys in the crowd of looters were laughing and enjoying the excitement; the women walked purposefully, as if going to or from an everyday market, and the men perpetrated the serious thefts. One in the video got away with a plough, suitable to be pulled by two beasts. This particular centre was not burnt down, but some have been.

The food shops will find it difficult or impossible to restock, because there is no credit, so that prices will continue to soar, even of such necessities as mealie meal and cooking oil. Meanwhile the looting will allow the army and police to persuade themselves that they have good reason to “punish” the people.

It seems that army and police are operating together, with the army playing the leading part. Contrary to some reports, I understand that they are not confining themselves to households that oppose ZANU P F, the ruling party, but are going door to door indiscriminately. If the house contains young or youngish men they “punish” them on the spot, and then take them to the police station for more beating. The more fortunate have then been sent home, but others are still in custody. Some have already been charged in magistrates’ courts, for looting and related offences, and no doubt many more will be.

Exactly how all this #stateviolence has come about is not yet clear, but it seems likely that the army is following orders from General Constantinople Chiwenga (@VpChiwenga), the vice-president, who is acting president during @PresidentEmmersonMnangagwa’s travels to Russia and Davos. I do not know whether separate orders are issued to the police through their own minister. It remains to be seen how the President will react to to the chaos at home, which cannot be helpful to his international fund raising efforts.

Much of the above is anecdotal. Can readers add any up-to-date information?

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

Bishop George Bell: the dithering C of E

The #ChurchofEngland has been purposefully dithering for the best part of a year over its reaction to the second batch of “information” about #BishopGeorgeBell, and has throughout withheld with great determination any hint of what that information may be.

Several months were spent finding former @SuperintendentRayGalloway to assess whatever it was that the church had received and to make such further enquiries as he saw fit. His name, too, was closely guarded, (no one knows why) but found out by private enterprise and first published in this column on 29th May 2018.

After quite some time, but exactly when is another church secret, Galloway presented his report. It was then announced that his assessment was itself to be assessed by #TimBriden, a barrister who specialises in church law and is”Diocesan Chancellor and Vicat-General of the Province of Canterbury.”

Briden’s assessment has been delayed (again, no one knows why) and the latest news from the church is that the decision whether or not to publish it will be made, probably this month or in a February, by an individual with the wonderfully appropriate designation of, wait for it, the Deciding Officer. I do not yet know whether this is Mr Briden wearing another hat, or whether the Deciding Officer represents yet another source of delay on top of Galloway and Briden.

It will be a nice matter of judgement whether to publish before or after the forthcoming #Synod (20-23 February). To publish before the Synod risks giving ammunition to unco-operative clergy and laity. To delay would allow those same divisive elements to complain that they had been denied the opportunity to discuss the report.

We can only wait and see.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3