Bartie’s back in town

LAST UPDATED: 17 Apr, 2009 @ 10:53
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Bartie’s back in town

After a two month sojourn in Thailand (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) Lord Bart is back with his usual enlightening musings on modern life

• It makes cents

UNFORTUNATELY, my campaigning days are long behind me but, were I a mere handful of years younger, I would be marching in the streets in order to get rid of the enormously irritating one and two centimo pieces that wreck my pockets and plague the Lady Bartie’s purse. Individually these coins are entirely worthless; collectively they are nothing more than purse shrapnel. They insinuate their way into the smallest crease in the lining of one’s tweed suits and are extremely difficult to get rid of once acquired. Vending machines generally won’t accept them; taxi drivers deride them; they are not worth the metal they are stamped on.

It would be an extremely simple exercise for the nation’s shopkeepers to round up or down to the nearest five centimos when giving change. Anything below five would round down; anything above five would round up. Over time everything would even out and we would be rid of these infuriating wampum.

For my own part, if ever the barman gives me one or two centimo pieces in my change I take the first opportunity to hurl them in the gutter or, preferably, to throw them at children and small dogs, which is much more satisfying.

• Check mate

Whilst thumbing through a recent edition of the Journal of Theoretical Biology I was intrigued to read that researchers at University College London have created a mathematical model to demonstrate that, during the courting ritual, reliable men are prepared to invest considerable amounts of time before sexual intercourse is engaged. Whereas less reliable men quickly terminate the relationship if the female does not come across. Evidently “long courtship is a price paid for increasing the chance that mating, if it occurs, will be a harmonious match.”

More interesting is the fact that these academics have covered their nether regions by warning that “the strategy is not foolproof”. Translated into unambiguous English this means that a cluster of intellectual ne’er-do-wells have spent many months and even more publicly-funded quids in developing a theory that may or may not be dependable. The answers generated by mathematical models will produce whatever result the researcher wishes to produce – it depends on what data one inputs in the first place. I have no doubt that, given enough time and a large enough research grant, academics could unquestionably prove that the moon is made of semi-curado cheese.

• Dream time

If I told you that there is an organisation called the Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency (EACEA) could you guess which authority established it and continues to provide substantial funding?

Right first time – it is, of course, a quango set up by the European Union. This Brussels-based organisation squeezes by on a paltry budget of €25 million a year as it encourages “cultural co-operation” and the “emergence of European citizenship”.

EACEA’s primary objective might not be so bad were it not for the fact that it also wants to present European historical events, such as the Great War, in a more positive light. And this is where I struggle with acceptance and understanding. Even Steven Spielberg would have difficulty in presenting World War I as anything other than one nation trying to subjugate continental Europe. What next? Will we see the EACEA version of WWII (WWI, The Sequel) representing Adolf Hitler as a benevolent visionary who had nothing more than the unity of the diverse peoples of disparate nations at heart?

We already know that the EU spends squillions of our euros on propaganda as it attempts to convince us that it is a wonderful institution that underpins our very existence. Now, it seems, the Eurocrats wants us to believe that history is a fairy tale and the bad things never really happened. Dream on.

Disgruntled of Andalucia (formerly of Tonbridge Wells)

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