2019 Feb 15 - Airbus A380 Ending Production

This week saw Airbus announce that it was going to be ending production of its iconic A380, the double decker aircraft with a price tag as large as its size and its size matched only by the length of the security queue as people look at their watches and ponder two questions: 1) How is a bottle of water as dangerous as the machine gun next to it on the banned items list and 2) If you had planned to take a machine gun on board where were you planning on putting it? It certainly won't fit in the overhead locker. The aircraft has a price tag of around half a billion pounds, depending on the layout of the interior and whether you're including the bribery costs upfront in the price tag while you smoke your hashish and offer to explore military upgrades with the crown prince as you both recline next to the pool.

The plane is a cartoonishly impressive piece of engineering, almost certainly dreamt up by the lead designer when his mother had given him too much chocolate and left him alone with the legos one Saturday afternoon. Building a beamoth double story plane was for a long time in the book of proposed ideas along with a mile high skyscrsaper, a car that can do 1000 miles per hour and whatever project Boris Johnson is set to propose next time he wants some media attention.

It is ob course worrying for the workers in the South West of England who ironically live quite near the road the A380 (which goes to Torbay) but to suggest as the BBC has that the decision is somehow because of Brexit is akin to suggesting that choosing between a glass of Malbec and a glass of beer is a political one that is dependent on whether you side with the Argentinian position on the Falklands Islands. The aircraft industry has for the last 10 years been in an idiological battle between whether the future profit in air travel is in the big routes such as London to New York or the niche emerging routes such as Philadelphia to Dubrovnic and it seems that the industry is moving more towards the smaller carbon composite offerings from Boeing, such as the 777X which will be offering the sort of energy cost saving that you normally only hear about when it's someone on the phone trying to scam you into getting an energy smart meter for your house. The only money saving you're likely to make one of those is from when your friends stop inviting you down the pub after they get bored of you constantly checking what your hourly gas useage is when you're not at home.

Overall the Airbus A380 comes across as a fantastic metaphor for Airbus' beloved EU really. Initially an impressive idea on paper but in reality, oversized, too expensive, mostly for the benefit of Germany, especially for the benefit of who have an expense account, not inline with general consumer demand, starting to come to an end and unlikely to be around in 20 years time.
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2019 Feb 03 - Russian Threats

There have been a lot of ludicrous scare stories in the press about how Brexit will lead to war, pestilence, the deaths of millions, Jimmy Savile coming back to life, all the iPhones being rounded up and other similarly sensationalist nonsense. To be honest I doubt anything could be worse than the current situation where Tony Blair is given air time and political debate is reduced to discussing how everything from healthcare or the price of a train ticket is as a result of Brexit, or sometimes a ......

2019 Jan 27 - Mugabe & Macedonia

With Brexit and President Trump hogging the headlines, sometimes it's easy to forget that there's a whole world of news out there and I don't mean the sports section of the newspaper, or that advertising section selling either made-to-measure chinos or perhaps premium rate phone numbers, depending on your newspaper of choice. I thought this week we'd look elsewhere and talk about 2 other things that happened in the world this week.

First of all to Zimbabwe and here's a joke for you: How does Ro ......

2019 Jan 19 - US Government Shutdown

With Theresa May continuing to run down the clock, let's take a look at America where a government shutdown has been going on for several weeks, long enough that even drum soloists have started to look at their watches and question how much longer it has to go.

Normally budget disputes are solved by both sides coming together and agreeing to get the next year funded on the condition that certain additional chunks of money are set aside for wasteful but politically important job creation schemes ......

2019 Jan 13 - Brexit Update

In spite of a referendum to supposedly settle the issue, Brexit apparently remains one of those divisive things, like marmite or Justin Bieber, although actually at least with those two most people can agree on the fact that they both go best on the end of a knife. Maybe a better example would be the film 2001 which is either a stunning untouchable masterpiece or (if you're under 30) in dire need of a reboot with laser fights and maybe Chris Hemsworth. Unfortunately that's the level of intellect ......

2019 Jan 05 - Happy New Year

Happy new year, it's 2019. I imagine that if you asked Diane Abbott what 17 plus 1 is she'd reply, 20(or)019. This is also (finally) the year that science fiction film Blade Runner is set in so while we count down to Elon Musk selling us tickets to the off-world colonies, let's maybe take a look at what the next few months have in store down here on earth,

First to America where a new house of representatives have just taken their seats and promised to pass all sorts of crazy laws for the senat ......

2018 Dec 20 - Calvins Swiss Adventure

I'm going to be away on holiday the next 2 weeks in the far north of Scotland so there won't be any new uploads until the new year. However, because I'm a generous individual, I've produced a Christmas present for you all in the form of a point and click adventure game which you can all play for free by clicking on the "Game" tab above

It really is free, not those "free" government services where they force you to pay hundreds of pounds at the end of every month. In "Calvin's Swiss Adventure" ......

2018 Dec 15 - What keeps May going?

This week Theresa May finally grasped the idea that her deal has about the same chance of being formally enshrined in law as the 5-second rule or that one about stepping on the cracks in the pavement. A few days later and she flew out to Europe once more, expecting the EU commission to ditch ideological purity in favour of pragmatism or economics. There's about as much chance of that happening as there is of seeing Jade Goody being the face on the back of the new £50 note. After 2 years Mrs May ......

2018 Dec 09 - Paris Yellow Vest Protests

It's the run up 'til Christmas and rather than the 2 calling birds or 3 french hens, the French government dispersed tear gas in Paris. Police fired into the crowd as a fourth weekend of anti-government protests turned violent. 8000 police and 12 armoured vehicles have been deployed in Paris and if you think you hear 12 drummers drumming, it's probably the sound of those 12 armoured vehicles being pelted with rocks, or possibly oyster shells and wine bottles because it's Paris and why not enjoy ......

2018 Dec 01 - That Brexit Bill

This week we got to see Theresa May in action. Wait, hang on, there's no space in there, it's one word: inaction. This week we saw inaction from Theresa May, a lack of action or persuasion, the amount of productive work you'd normally more associate with a Mediterranean country on a hot afternoon. Even she knows the Brexit bill is terrible but her advisors think that promoting it alongside Jeremy Corbyn on a BBC televised debate might make it seem more palatable, like a prawn sandwich that's pas ......

2018 Nov 24 - Brexit deal "like the Titanic"

Theresa May has a couple of different residences: sometimes she lives in Number 10 Downing Street, sometimes Chequers but for the most part she's living in fear and denial.

She's also living in cloud-cuckoo-land as she flies off this weekend to get the EU to sign off on her deal, under the misapprehension that a majority of MPs will vote for it when it comes back to Westminster. When you see the prime minister talking about how great an idea her deal is, it very much reminds of a contestant on ......

2018 Nov 17 - Theresa May Unveils her Brexit Plan

This week Theresa May finally unveiled the details of her Brexit plan and in doing so became about as popular as Peter Sutcliffe at a WI meeting. Troops were mobilised, ministers resigned, letters were written, pieces were given to camera and if a week's a long time in politics, this upcoming week will likely feel like the DFS sale.

If you're clicking the refresh internet news website, waiting for an announcement of a leadership election, it almost feels like the old days waiting for a Ceefax p ......

2018 Nov 11 - US Election Aftermath

This weekend marked 100 years since the end of the 1st world war and therefore it's also the end of 4 years of seeing the Sunday papers lazily padding out their pages with archive articles. Don’t worry though folks, it’s just one year until we start seeing 80 year commemorative articles about WW2. It's interesting, don't get me wrong, but it's not new. I guess a lifestyle and opinion journal calling itself a newspaper is a legacy thing, like the Carphone Warehouse, or SNP member swearing all ......

2018 Nov 03 - US Midterm Election

It's a very exciting couple of days coming up in America. Asides from a National Sandwich Day and National Donut Day fast approaching it's also a massive mid-term election on Tuesday. I looked on Google and apparently Sunday 4th is actually "National Common Sense Day" but rest assured, that will all be forgotten when people on both the right and the left go to the polls to vote in a 2 party system where a brutal combination of districting, voter suppression and an electoral system about as hones ......

2018 Oct 28 - Pipe Bomb Attacks

Well it's halloween time but there's always someone who takes it too far and this year it was a 56 year old man in Florida who took it upon himself to scare politicians by sending them over a dozen pipe bombs in the post. The potential victims included the Clintons, former president Obama as well as actor Robert Deniro who having escaped a grisly death akin to Goodfellas or the Godfather, will now have many more years in which to murder his reputation with films like the Fockers series or that o ......

2018 Oct 20 - Jamal Khashoggi

A couple of week's ago Saudi Arabian journalist and prominent critic of the government Jamal Khashoggi disappeared but this wasn't a magic show and he didn't suddenly reappear on the other side of a stage. It turned out that this was more like the magic trick where they cut someone in two or make them disappear and it was Saudi spies running the show so it was less Houdini and more Whodunnit and they've stayed quieter than the one in Penn & Teller that doesn't say anything.

There are two storie ......

2018 Oct 13 - Stock Market Losses

There's that old joke about what's black and white and red all over, to which the answer is either a newspaper, or the corporate balance sheet of a newspaper in the digital age. Nonetheless, the leaves are starting to turn red and so were a lot of stock markets this week with the FTSE 100 dropping below 7000 points. Not to be mistaken for dropping 7000 pints, which is what Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed and used to call a "fun weekend."

Share prices have been going up for the past 10 years and t ......

2018 Oct 06 - Conservative Party Conference

Birmingham once gave us the band The Moody Blues so is seemed appropriate that moody blue rosette wearing MPs gathered in Birmingham this past week for the Conservative Party Conference. There were fever pitch levels of excitement normally reserved in Birmingham for a nill-all draw at Villa Park. But this wasn't football, it was politics and rather than a game of two halves, this was more like 8 full pints and a bottle of whisky into the night as scheming ministers gathered to see if Boris would ......

2018 Sep 29 - Labour Party Conference

Well the US Supreme Court decision has delayed for a week. That's almost as long a delay as a Southern Rail train! So in the meantime let's talk about the Labour Party Conference which was held this last week in Liverpool. They were in Brighton last year which frankly always came as a surprise to me as there's not too many Bright'uns in the leadership right now

Anyway, there was much of what you'd expect, everyone out-doing each other with speeches about how much they hate money and why they sh ......

2018 Sep 22 - Theresa May in Salzburg

Theresa May has had a fairly bad run of luck with her Brexit plans so when I heard that she was heading out to Austria, I half expected her to land in Melbourne after a miscommunication. Nonetheless, the plane touched down and she began a quick round of negotiations that turned out to be about as productive as a Venezuelan factory.

Mrs May had gone over to Salzburg in order to push her Chequers proposal again but whilst Salzaburg was once home to Mozart, this week it was more Like that John Cag ......