Westie's Christmas Message, 2011
Hi there Everyone!
Well what a year! People in some of the Middle Eastern countries rioting in demand for democracy, the Western world teetering on the edge of financial meltdown - particularly in the Euro zone where the PIGS countries are struggling to pay their debts - and natural disasters from earthquakes to flooding, awaiting those brave enough to venture further eastwards.
If all that hasn't been enough to keep you on your toes then closer to home the outlook hasn't been much rosier - particularly if you were hoping to buy a house! Thanks, in part at least, to the World's economic troubles, the housing market in the UK is on the skids - with prices falling if you're wanting to sell, and deposits going up so high by the banks, if you are wanting a mortgage to buy, that the hopes for the Englishman ever owning his 'first time castle' are bleak! Quantitive (or the very latest Credit) Easing - whatever either of them means - not it seems having achieved a great deal to improve anybody's prospects!
To top it all, if that wasn't enough, salaries are being frozen and people are being asked to work longer for apparently less pension - that's of course assuming that you live long enough to claim the latter or indeed are fortunate enough to have a job and/or a pension to start with. Many people, especially in the 18 to 25 age group in the private sector are finding themselves out of work because they have either been laid off or have been unable to find employment in the first place. Even spending three years at Uni - and building up a hefty debt for the privilege - doesn't, it seems, guarantee anyone a job in the end irrespective of what level of degree they might have achieved!
Civil unrest hasn't either just been confined to abroad - regrettably a spate of riots broke out in a number of the major cities in the UK, such as London and Manchester, in the middle of the summer, although thankfully they didn't persist for more than a couple of weeks, albeit that was sufficient time and opportunity for some appalling damage to be done to property, as well as causing a number of serious injuries to many people.
While violence appears to have diminished at least in the UK, a movement of silent 'sit in' demonstration has grown up effectively across the world, with tented 'villages' springing up everywhere from places like Wall St. in New York to the square outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London - apparently trying to highlight the mis-deeds and greed of the World's Financial Institutions. How such actions are actually supposed to stop the said greed and mismanagement isn't clear, but at least it must help to reduce the carbon foot prints of those taking part as they can't drive expensive gas guzzling cars, or burn carbon monoxide fuel, while huddling up in a tent! So maybe there is some good news!
Other foot prints mind, were more than a tad misplaced at Lords in the summer when some discontented Pakistani cricketers decided they might be able to offset the hardship being caused them by the world's financial instability, by overstepping the designated mark from which they were supposed to deliver a cricket ball at England's best and bravest batsmen. Unfortunately such waywardness was observed not only by the officials, whose job it is to ensure that the game is played fairly and in accordance with the established rules, but thanks to the hawk-eyed electronic scrutiny of Sky television, by half the cricketing world. Not only did their actions result in added runs to the opposition, it ultimately resulted in the exponents spending some time as guests in one of Her Majesty's institutions. Clearly demonstrating to any other similarly minded would-be cricketing miscreants, that while all is fair in love and war, the same cannot be said for cricket! Cricket by its very nature has to be fair and inscrutably clean!
England's cricketers did at least bring some rays of sunshine (for some Brits at least) into what was otherwise, a fairly morose year by resoundingly defeating all other opposition put before them. Indeed victory to such an extent that as things currently stand, England proudly leads the world when it comes to playing Test cricket - the only real and true form of the game of course! Some might churlishly say that in other aspects of the game - such as the variety where the combatants don pyjamas to perform for a limited number of overs - England is by no means as successful, but that surely would be pure sour grapes!
True, it wasn't much to crow about, but given how pathetically England's gallants with Webb Ellis' oval ball performed down under - as opposed to the excellent demonstration of the same noble art by Wales in the same tournament - it was some very welcome relief! England's rugby playing, managing and administrating fraternity - the latter famously acclaimed some time ago by Will Carling, the then England Captain, as 'a bunch of old farts' - have been in sore disarray in the past year.
The players it seems were more intent on drinking the bars of New Zealand dry - well I suppose throwing those of diminutive stature around can be thirsty work! - and burying their heads in the busty cleavages of Maori maidens, than exercising on the field. Nothing wrong with that, some might say, but there is a time and a place for everything and maybe New Zealand last October wasn't it. Regrettably, for the players at least, the days of professionalism have killed forever the old adage that 'what goes on tour, stays on tour'! What with mobile phones with zoom lens cameras, and gluttonous social web sites hungry for the slightest evidence of misdemeanour, the lads have to keep their shirts (as well as lower areas of their clothing) well and truly buttoned up, otherwise within minutes they could find their exploits plastered across the front pages of the world's press, rather than on the back!
At least unpopularity hasn't just been the preserve of misbehaving rugby players or fat cat greedy bankers of late - certainly not after the latest, in the endless round of, meetings between the world's Heads of State and or their financial wizards, who have been considering all sorts of economic shenanikins to solve our monetary problems.
It strikes CAPNews that nobody really seems to know what to do - different theories and solutions abound. However unfortunately for David Cameron, at the last shindig of the year, the love-in by Angela and Nicolas (Germany and France's respective esteemed leaders) came up with proposals that DC didn't think were quite in the UK's best interests and so he took his ball away, which really caused quite a rumpus! Having a veto it seems is fine, as long as you aren't seen to use it!
CAPNews suspects that for a while at least, being sidelined by Europe, berated by politicians of all persuasions in the UK including being banished to the spare room by one's coalition partner, Mr Cameron may find the immediate going a tad sticky!
Who'd be a world leader - it certainly isn't the job for the faint hearted! CAPNews wouldn't begin to comment on the rights and wrongs of what is best for this country or the World in general come to that, but it does seem that the main virtue that any aspiring politician must have if he is to stand any chance of survival, let alone advancement, is timing! Getting yourself elected when things are going well - and keeping your head well down when they get tough - is surely the very first rule!
Hey ho - we thinks DC got it wrong there - but as Harold Wilson said back in 1964 'a week is a long time in politics' so we guess that by this time next week DC could be a positive hero!
There was one event in the year however which did lift the nation - well most of it - from its doldrums, and that was the betrothal of the nation's future King, Prince William to his beloved Katherine Middleton, who now universally it seems, is referred to by the somewhat irreverent (for a future Queen, no less) as Kate. Apart from the 'anti-royalist' brigade of course, who would never concede anything, so staunchly monarchist as a Royal Wedding, as being anything more than a total sycophantic waste of the public's money, the event lifted the majority of the Nation to a delirious outpouring of affection - probably completely over the top, but who (apart from the afore-said anti mob) cared - it was a time to celebrate and rejoice!
Street parties were the order of the day, the nation had a day off work - even though frankly, it could hardly afford it! - and, as the rest of the world looked on, in a mixture of amazement and envy, the country bathed in an euphoric orgy of self congratulation! It may not have been their wedding but it was their Will and Kate and they were all jolly well going to enjoy it! CAPNews has no hesitation in acclaiming it as tremendous stuff for the people, and may the happy couple have many contented years together and have many little Wills and Kates!
If Wills and Kate brought the sun out to start with, then the weatherman has certainly been doing his part ever since to brighten up our lives - and indeed most successfully has he been. As we write temperatures for Christmas are already being forecast at around the low teens, and that is following a November that broke all records for being the warmest and driest ever! Nature is getting its knickers in a bit of a twist mind with some bulbs already pushing their way through and the birds beginning to nest. Unlike us humans who despite all our wonderful technologies, seem unable to cope with things when the order changes, CAPNews is confident that nature will inevitably sort itself out - as long as we leave it to its own designs!
So that's it folks! Christmas is almost on us. CAPNews wishes you all a wonderful season and trusts that you all have an exceedingly merry New Year and a happy and healthy 2012.
Incidentally if there are any of you who have a mind to attend the CAP50 Reunion in June and haven't yet got your name down - see all the details on this web site - then there's still plenty of time and indeed space (although with already over 130 signed up, that is filling up fast!) to get in your form. You'll be in great company and nostalgia will ooze out of every pore, you can be sure!
Cheers for now!